Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) Information
Department of Labor USERRA 101 An on-line introduction to the rules and regulations surrounding USERRA
- To sign up for the course, proceed to USERRA 101. You will need to provide your business information to register for and access the course materials.
More than 90 percent of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act complaint cases handled by the Department of Labor during FY 2011 were resolved within 90 days, according to a department report provided to the Congress.
USERRA protects civilian job rights and benefits for veterans and members of the active and Reserve components of the U.S. armed forces. USERRA provides that returning service-members must be promptly reemployed in the same position that they would have attained had they not been absent for military service, with the same seniority, status and pay, as well as other rights and benefits determined by seniority.
During Fiscal Year 2011, the department's Veterans' Employment and Training Service briefed more than 72,000 individuals on their job rights under USERRA. Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the deployment of U.S. armed forces to Iraq and Afghanistan, the department's VETS program has provided USERRA information to more than 800,000 Americans through briefings or individual technical assistance. Over the next five years, an estimated 300,000 service members, including Guard and Reserve, will separate and leave the military each year.
In FY 2011, VETS reviewed 1,548 new unique USERRA complaint cases, up 110 cases from those received in FY 2010. Nearly 35 percent of the complaints reviewed by VETS contained allegations of some form of employment discrimination on the basis of past, present, or future, military service, status, or obligations. An additional 25 percent of the complaints involved allegations of improper reinstatement into civilian jobs following military service.
Individuals who believe their employment or reemployment rights under USERRA have been violated may file a complaint with VETS online or by submitting a signed complaint form. As part of the complaint review, a VETS investigator will collect and review evidence and will conduct witness interviews deemed necessary to obtain a resolution. Regardless of the outcome of the case, if a claimant is dissatisfied, he or she may request that the case be referred to the U.S. Department of Justice or, in the case of federal government employees, to the Office of Special Counsel, for further review and possible representation in U.S. District Court or before the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board. In FY 2011, VETS referred 130 cases to the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division and 36 cases to the Office of Special Counsel.
VETS Assists Police Officer Through USERRA
Law enforcement officer Brian Benvie received a promotion, retroactive seniority and back pay through his claims filed with the Veterans' Employment and Training Service under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act. Benvie, an Army reservist who has served deployments in Kosovo, Iraq and Kuwait, first missed taking promotional exams for sergeant and lieutenant at the Brockton, Mass., police force due to active military duty. When he eventually took the exam, he found others were promoted ahead of him even though he scored better. Compounding the situation, his time in grade for promotions was miscalculated. Benvie filed complaints under USERRA and received swift help from VETS staff in the national office and the regional office in Atlanta. "They were a big help because they took my case," Benvie said. VETS eventually referred the case to the Department of Justice, which reached a settlement with the City of Brockton that included more than $32,000 in back pay. Benvie said the positive outcomes on promotion, seniority and pay through USERRA "will have ramifications for the rest of my life."
USERRA Helps Missouri Army Vet Get Job Back
With an assist from the Department of Labor, Theresa Slater got her job, workplace seniority and lost wages restored under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act. After her active service duty in the Army ended, Slater returned to her job as a security officer in Missouri. But she found that her company had changed her status to new employee, which cost her 13 years of seniority and required her to take company training courses over again. Slater filed a USERRA claim concerning her loss of seniority. Shortly after that, a small infraction of company policy by Slater led to the company firing her. Slater amended her claim alleging that the company retaliated against her for exercising her re-employment rights under USERRA. The department investigated the case and found that Slater was protected from termination for up to one year under USERRA and informed the company. Slater then went to arbitration, where she was offered back her original job, with her seniority restored and more than $20,000 in back wages. Slater said that "the department's investigation of my case made me feel confident I would win" in arbitration.
- 2010 USERRA Annual Report to Congress (PDF)
- USERRA Fact Sheet
- USERRA Notification (Poster)
- Announcement: Department of Labor USERRA 101 An on-line introduction to the rules and regulations surrounding USERRA. To sign up for the course, proceed to USERRA 101. You will need to provide your business information to register for and access the course material.
- Employers of, and employees who are, members of the National Guard or Reserves may access information relative to their rights and responsibilities.
- USERRA Fact Sheet
- USERRA elaws Advisor Employers of, and employees who are, members of the National Guard or Reserves may access information relative to their rights and responsibilities.
- Title 38 United States Code (U.S.C.) Chapter 43 (4301-4335) USERRA Code
- Title 20 Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) part 1002 USERRA Regulations
- USERRA Poster
- Instructions for Filing a USERRA Claim and Form VETS-1010
- USERRA Pocket Guide
Online USERRA Training
OPM USERRA Protection for Federal Employees Presentation (worth watching)