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168 Days: Where Am I Now?

By Ken Snyder

I'd like to say things are okay. Maybe even that things are going great. I'd like to say we've been able to "get past this" and "move on" but right now we're still working towards that goal. I set out to earn my Associate's degree, and in 2014 I accomplished that. With the economy being what it is the job market's still tight, but I hope to be able to find a position using my avionics and electro-mechanical skills from the past or my computer skills. There's always the option of deploying with the ANG, but eventually I'll need to be back in a civilian job -- hopefully this time with a company that really supports members currently serving in the Guard and Reserves.

Irony Of All Ironies

On 15 October 2013 I recieved a recorded message from BPU on my home phone. In it they said that if our utility bill that was due on 1 October was not paid by 20 October they were going to shut off the electricity and water at our house. On the other hand, as I described in "Black Monday" I accepted their pitiful "Offer of Judgement" on 14 August AND AS OF THAT DATE THE SETTLEMENT HAD NOT BEEN PAID.

The Board Hears From Me

As I mentioned in "Black Monday" BPU didn't pay to shut me up, and as I mentioned in "Findings" I brought my case straight to the BPU Board of Directors on 20 November 2013. At this point it was my way of showing them that I was not going away quietly, as some of them would prefer me to do. Since my presentation was not another "softball" "feel-good" piece they made damn sure I was reminded of my time limit (which I believe they started as I was handing out the papers I made for every Board member) not all my presentation was given, but you can click here to read it in it's entirety. At 6:00 AM on that day this Web site went live in its entirety.


After everything I've been through, here's some lessons learned:

  1. TAKE YOUR TIME - BUT DON'T DELAY. USERRA does not have a time limit. However, it can be looked at unfavorably if you take too much time in filing a claim. Don't rush into filing a suit (see next note), but don't sit on it too long. What you want to do is take a long look at the following notes and apply accordingly.
  2. Do your homework. Does your state allow attorneys to front certain costs associated with a suit?. If I would have known this ahead of time, I would have applied the next piece of advice and potentially achieved far more than I did.
    Even if your attorney takes your case on a "contingency fee" basis you will have costs. While your attorney (in USERRA cases) can get filing fees waived and might not ask for much money up-front there will be things they cannot pay for, depending on state laws.
  3. Save for a rainy day -- a biblical flood, to be exact. What hurt the most was when I realized that I could not "outspend" BPU, and it would take money (that I didn't have) to keep going. If I would have set aside the separation bonus I got from American Airlines the funds would be in place to pay for the depositions; we wouldn't have had the foundation work done on our house but this story would have ended far differently.
    I would go so far as to say if you receive a sizeable amount of money just before or right after you change jobs (like I did) or a fat tax refund/rebate, sit on that money until you're absolutely sure you are in a secure position -- and even then be prepared for the unexpected.
  4. Does your employer really support our troops? Remember, these people have a signed "Statement of Support" on file with ESGR (that I'd love to see get revoked) and even accepted an ESGR "Patriot Award" (without the person nominating them knowing a thing about it after the award was presented to them by ESGR - me) and they still pulled this stunt. With the operational tempo that Guard and Reserve units have now there will be employers that don't want to be "burdened" with a "weekend warrior" on the payroll. Don't let a bunch of flag-waving mislead you, there are a lot of fake patriots out there.
  5. Document, Document, Document. Even if you have a military-friendly employer there's no telling when some functionary inside the company will decide to take his anti-military bias out on you. Much like you were told to keep your "head on a swivel" when the stuff hits the fan, you need to maintain situational awareness when it comes to potential discrimination. Don't think it can't happen: it has happened in the past, it's happening now, and it will happen in the future. You never know when that "harmless" little memo, project report, or evaluation (like mine) could come in handy. In my near-perfect hindsight I wish I had kept more copies of what I did and even taken pictures of my work as I did it -- that would have really made it hard for BPU to try those "unable to complete work on jobs and tasks required of the position" "did not pay attention to detail when asked to complete a task" "not completing tasks in a timely manner" excuses.
  6. DOL Will Do Very Little. Judging from my experience (and from what others have told me) the Department of Labor is not on your side. In fact, from what I read in their own file they seemed to be far more willing to "discuss" things with BPU's attorneys than they were with me. They are supposed to be neutral while they're investigating, but it would be nice if they actually would do some investigating. Don't expect too much from DOL unless you can hand them a paper that pretty much states you were fired for being in the military.

Everytime We Meet

From time to time I see people involved with this from BPU -- I always make sure they know just how I feel in my own special way.

Just For You, BPU!

Frankly, I don't care if they like it or not -- like I mentioned on the previous page "the standard you walk past is the standard you accept" and now we know the standard they accept.

For now, that's about it. As things progress I will try to come back to these pages and update them with any additional information or links to additional information.
If you've taken the time to read through this entire site (and aren't part of BPU's little society) I want to thank you for your time.

Take Care,


Next: Disgruntled?
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The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.