OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A measure that aims to protect members of the Oklahoma National Guard from employment discrimination has been signed by Gov. Stitt.
On Wednesday, the Oklahoma Senate approved House Bill 2545, which creates the Oklahoma Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.
Sen. Frank Simpson says the bill provides the same employment protections for Oklahoma National Guard members whether they are called to federal active duty or the governor of Oklahoma.
HB 2545 provides that any National Guard member who has to leave their job due to active duty must be reemployed when their service is complete as long as they provide advance notice to the employer and their absence is no longer than five years cumulatively. The service member must also submit a reemployment application upon their return.
“Currently, Oklahoma National Guard members called up for federal active duty by the president are protected by federal law and know when they return, their jobs will be waiting for them,” Sen. Frank Simpson said. “Unfortunately, if they are activated by the governor for a national emergency in the states, they don’t have that same employment protection. House Bill 2545 will mirror federal law giving our Oklahoma heroes assurance that their jobs and livelihoods will be waiting for when they return home.”
The bill also prohibits employers from discriminating against employees or prospective employees based on their membership or service in the Oklahoma National Guard.
“The servicemen and women of the Oklahoma National Guard deserve to have their jobs protected when they are called up by the governor to assist during times of emergency in our state,” Rep. Ty Burns said. “House Bill 2545 provides peace of mind for those guard members and helps show our appreciation for their willingness to serve.”
On Wednesday, Gov. Stitt signed the measure into law.