National Guardsman returns from war to new battle for old job

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wwltv.com

Posted on November 25, 2013 at 7:38 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 26 at 10:00 PM

Ashley Rodrigue / Eyewitness News
Email: arodrigue@wwltv.com | Twitter: @ashleyrwwl

COVINGTON, La. - Last September, Louisiana Army National Guard Spc. Sherman Crandle volunteered to deploy to Afghanistan for a year.

When the call came, he had been working customer services at Best Buy in Covington for five days, but he says he was told a job would be waiting for him when he returned.

Crandle said that was not the case when he stepped back on American soil two months ago.

"In those 10 days, I called Best Buy checking if I still had my job,” said Crandle, “At one point, they told me no. The only way you was gonna get your job back was if we needed you."

U.S. law states that returning service members are to be re-employed in the job that they would have attained had they not been absent for military service. A challenge with that resulted in Best Buy re-hiring Crandle, but even that, he said, hasn’t been easy.

"Throughout the rehiring process it took me about a month and a half to get my job back,” he said.

When asked what has happened since the return, he said, “I've worked a total like six days so far out of the last three weeks."

Late Tuesday afternoon, we received this statement from Best Buy:

"Best Buy has been very supportive of our employees who serve our country and our Covington store has a number of veterans on staff. All Best Buy employees being deployed are offered a military leave of absence and our systems indicated that Spc. Crandle did not request a military leave of absence. When we learned of his desire to return to Best Buy, he was reinstated prior to the WWL report into the same part-time role he held before he served our country. We have retroactively given him military leave of absence status and are happy to have him back."

For Crandle, the situation is frustrating, and he feels it's unfair.

"I've got some money saved away for the situation, but right now it's like really borderline," he said. "I might not be able to make it through this next month."

Crandle said he just wants to be able to work hard for his family like he has for his country.

Crandle said the National Guard has helped him submit several resumes to other companies since his return. He has not heard back yet from any.

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