A Macy’s hiring manager made a thoughtless comment and America is freaking out

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Macy’s employer branding is reeling after a military veteran revealed the department store chain explicitly told her she was unsuitable for a job because of her time in the army. Kayla Reyes, 21, interviewed for a sales associate position in February after returning to California from a year-long deployment. During the meeting, the hiring manager allegedly told Reyes that her military service made her incompatible with outward-facing positions.

Reyes claimed she was told that she “wouldn’t really know how to approach people”, and that her Afghanistan experience prevented her from knowing how to react to customers. The manager allegedly mentioned that a position in loss prevention would be more appropriate.

Various news outlets covered the story, which was shared thousands of times from her Facebook page. It was only then that the company offered her a position, after releasing a statement to the media about its employment programs for veterans. Macy’s did not deny Reyes’ claims.

The case comes just weeks after a US Court of Appeals held that military service members are entitled to the same sorts of leave available to other employees in Doris v. TXD Services. The case surrounded a National Guard member who was deployed to Iraq for just over a year, and returned to find that he no longer had a job. The court concluded that if other employees  had long-term leave available to them for various reasons, then military service members should be treated no differently.

How to attract military veterans

Continue wages during deployment MGM Resorts in Las Vegas provides eligible employees with pay and benefits while they are on combat tours, and it was this strategy that helped the company gain its vice president of diversity and inclusion, Ondra Berry. “When I learned about the programs that MGM Resorts offers to veterans, I was amazed,” says Berry, who is a brigadier general in the Nevada Air National Guard. “That kind of military support is rare in the business world.”

Engage with veteran job-seeking networks Dozens of networks both generic and trade-specific exist purely to place veterans in jobs. Many organize job fairs to help connect employers and veterans, and are a good resource for employers.

Consider spouse employment Often, veterans must take their partners’ financial situations into account, since spouses have a 26% unemployment rate and a 25% wage gap. The relocation can be hard on spouses’ careers, and both veterans and their families may be enticed to your company if you can demonstrate opportunities for their significant others, too.

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