Combat Airlifter January 2010.indd - 440th Airlift Wing

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Combat Airlifter January 2010.indd - 440th Airlift Wing

Combat AirliftersResolutions That Can ReallyMake a DifferenceDo New Year’s resolutions really do any good? Itdepends on what they are and whether you can keepthem. Studies show that people who follow the federalnutrition guidelines closely have a lower than averageincidence of cancer.Dietary Guidelines for Americans, released by the federalgovernment and aimed at overall good health, and theAmerican Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) Diet andHealth Guidelines for Cancer Prevention, together form anexcellent basis for resolutions that can make a real differencein your life. Consider these guidelines goals to work toward;make resolutions about specific behavior changes that willhelp you reach them.The first two DietaryGuidelines for Americans are,“Aim for a healthy weight” and“Be physically active each day.”These messages are alsokey points in the AICRguidelines. These goalsare included in dietaryguidelines because morethan half of U.S. adultsare now at unhealthy weightsthat put them at risk of cancer,heart disease, diabetes and high bloodpressure. The federal guideline’s use of“aim” means you shouldn’t tplantoachievetheto achieve thegoal overnight, but change behaviors gradually over time.To “maintain” a healthy weight is not to drop weight ona fad diet and regain it, which is typical, but permanentlychange eating and lifestyle habits to reach and stay at ahealthy weight.To get there, AICR emphasizes the importance of portionsizes appropriate to your body’s real needs. That meansconsidering a resolution to avoid supersized portions.AICR’s “New American Plate” approach to eatingemphasizes that besides portion control, healthy eating alsomeans a balanced, mostly plant-based diet in which grains(preferably whole grains), vegetables and fruits make uptwo-thirds (or more) of our plates and animal protein onethird(or less). A recent report in the American Journal ofClinical Nutrition emphasizes that eating only low-fat foodsis not the key to weight control; balanced eating, with plentyof high-fiber foods, is also important.Both sets of dietary guidelines talk about the importanceof being active every day. AICR encourages accumulatingan hour of moderate activity each day, and an hour ofvigorous activity sometime each week. You can make thesegoals achievable by breaking up active time into 10- or15-minute blocks at lunchtime and before and after work.Or make activity a fun part of your day by setting walkinggoals using a pedometer, or finding co-workers who enjoy asport or activity that you can share.Both sets of guidelines also emphasize making wholegrains, vegetables and fruits the main focus of our meals.Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is not just importantfor weight control. ol. Meeting the minimum goal offive servings a day could lowercancer risk up to 20 percent,and provide other healthbenefits, too. Considera resolution to includea fruit or vegetable (orboth!) at lunch each day, tohave fruit for a snack ordessert at least once daily.Change the proportion of yourmain course. One tactic is toprepare combination dishes, likestews and stir-fries, with less meat andmore vegetables. Try switching from refinedbreads or cereals to whole-grain products.Moderation in alcohol (no more than one standard drinkdaily for women, or no more than two for men) is part ofboth guidelines, too. Try switching to sparkling water orcider, or a tangy tomato juice. Guidelines to avoid foodshigh in fat and salt offer plenty of other opportunitiesto make resolutions that will improve the quality of youreating. Perhaps the best start might be a resolution to stoptaking your health for granted.Reprinted with permission from the American Institutefor Cancer ResearchHaving Problems with Your Civilian Employer?by Lt. Col. Karen HeckerFor some reservists, the following scenarios are all too real:-“Welcome back from reserve duty, Bob. While you were gone,we moved you to the night shift and you’re no longer in a supervisoryposition.”-“I heard you volunteered to deploy for six months. I don’t know ifthere will be a job here for you when you get back.”-“No, you can’t go to your UTA this weekend as we need you here atthe office. You don’t have military orders so I don’t have to let you go.”Fortunately, Congress has enacted a statute that is specificallydesigned to prohibit discrimination against employeesbecause of their service in the Armed Forces, Reserves, orNational Guard. The federal law: the Uniformed Services Employmentand Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), was strengthenedconsiderably after September 11, 2001. Most employerswho violate this law do so unknowingly so it is important thatyou understand your rights and know how to seek assistancein exercising them if problems arise.Bottom line, USERRA prohibits an employer from denyingany benefit of employment on the basis of an individual’smembership, application for future membership, performanceof service or obligation for military service in the UnitedStates of America. Like wise,an employer must not denyinitial employment, reemployment, retention in employment,promotion, or any benefit of employment to an individual onthe basis of his or her membership, application for membership,performance of service, application for service or obligationfor military service. USERRA also protects the rightof veterans, reservists, National Guard members, and certainother military members to reclaim their civilian employmentafter an absence due to military service, testing or training.USERRA potentially covers every individual who hasserved or will serve in the military and applies to allemployers in the public and private sector including federalemployers. The law seeks to minimize disruption to the livesof service members by ensuring that they are able to retaintheir civilian employment and benefits while serving theircountry, and by providing protection from discriminationbecause of their service. USERRA protections apply to allmilitary service, whether voluntary, involuntary, on ordersor during UTAs.People are most familiar with the “reemployment” rightsgranted by USERRA. There are four basic entitlements thatmust be provided by the employer: prompt reinstatement,accrued seniority during your absence, training/retrainingor similar accommodations upon your return and specialprotection against discharge, except for cause.However, USERRA also protects reservists under othermore common scenarios. For example, if you miss workwhile you perform military service, your employer is not obligatedto reschedule you to make up the time lost. However,if employees who miss work for non-military reasons are affordedopportunities to make up the time lost, you must betreated in the same manner. Further, you cannot be requiredto find a replacement worker for the shift(s) you will miss asa condition of being given the time off by your employer toperform military service.Federal law allows youthe option to use earnedvacation while performingmilitary service, butyou cannot be requiredto do so. You are alsoentitled to, in most circumstances,maintainyour civilian healthinsurance during yourabsence.USERRA providesthat a denial of employmentor an adverseaction taken by an employeris unlawful if amember’s connectionwith military service is aCombat AirliftersLt. Col. Karen HeckerReserve Staff Judge Advocatemotivating factor (not necessarily the only factor) in the denialof reemployment or other adverse action, “unless the employercan prove that the action would have been taken in the absenceof such membership, application for membership … orobligation.”Remedies to a claimant under the law may flow fromtwo different processes. The first is the administrativeroute (handled by the United States Department of Labor,VETS). The second is the litigation route (handled by theU.S. Attorney General or the Office of Special Counsel).Remedies may differ depending on which route is chosen.Remedies available through the administrative route caninclude return to a position, back pay, restored benefits,restored promotional opportunities and other remediesdesigned to restore the service member to the position he/sheshould have been in.Most USERRA situations can be resolved short oflitigation or a claim. If you are having problems with yourcivilian employer that you believe are related to your militaryservice, please contact the Legal Office for assistance. Wealso recommend that you contact the Employer Supportof the Guard and Reserve (ESGR). This organization hasestablished an Ombudsman Services Program to provideinformation, counseling and mediation on issues relatedUSERRA. They staff a customer service center specifically toanswer phone calls and e-mails involving USERRA questions.Specially trained Ombudsmen are available to assist membersof the Guard and Reserve in resolving disputes with theircivilian employers related to military service throughmediation. ESGR Ombudsmen are volunteers locatedthroughout the United States. and U.S. territories. Therewebsite (http://esgr.org/userra.asp) contains informationon this program and detailed information on USERRA.The Department of Labor also has a website dedicatedto USERRA issues and provides on-line advisors to helpemployees and employers understand their rights andresponsibilities( http://www.dol.gov/elaws/userra.htm).Page 6, The Combat Airlifter January 2010 440th Airlift Wing, Pope AFB, Page 7

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