Supporting Troops by Helping Companies that Fire Them?

“Tort Reform” will handcuff lawyers fighting for National Guard Families,

CBS News (video) (alternate) reported this week that thousands of National Guard troops are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan to find that they have been fired in violation of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act. The CBS report went on to say that increasing numbers of National Guard and Reserve troops who have returned from war are encountering new battles with their civilian employers at home.

…Tragically, the companies abusing our troops may get away with it because there are not enough lawyers to force them to obey the law. [. . .] Unfortunately, the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), set up within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs to provide returning Guards and Reservists with free legal help through the states, has not been adequately funded and must rely on volunteers.

[. . .] the skills Denson and his counterparts in the other states need are those of trial lawyers – the very skills the Administration seeks to handcuff with its push for so-called “tort reform”. Trial lawyers protect American families from irresponsible corporations. The settlements trial lawyers earn for helping citizens abused by corporations make it possible for them to volunteer their time and their resources to fight for the families of our troops. The lawsuits they file – misnamed “frivolous” by the Right Wing noise machine – are the powerful levers citizens use to force corporations to obey the law and behave responsibly. And now these same powerful levers are needed by the families of National Guard and Reservists to force many of those same companies to treat our returning troops as the law – and patriotic decency – demands.

[. . .] Trial lawyers will help protect families of America’s fighting men and women. The Administration’s so-called “tort reform” aims to protect the companies abusing our troops. If “tort reform” passes, no family will be safe, at home or at war.”