VETS has developed an Internet-based system that allows USERRA claimants to submit a claim electronically. ESGR and VETS staff are available to provide technical assistance prior to filing an official claim.
Steps to filing a claim:
Many violations occur because employers do not know about USERRA. The same is true for service members. Some members who believe their reemployment rights have been violated may have misunderstood their legal protections. So, first click here to see if you have a valid USERRA claim.
For local assistance, you can contact your state's Director for Veterans' Employment and Training Service (DVET)(link is external) with questions and to get more help and information.
Once you have done your homework and believe that you have a valid case, it's time to talk to your employer. The ESGR has Ombudsmen(link is external) who can mediate between you and your employer. They will talk to you and your employer to mediate a remedy. The remedy is an action that will bring the employer into compliance with the law. According to the ESGR, 95 percent of all requests for assistance are resolved informally. To start mediation, call the Ombudsmen at: 1-800-336-4590 (select option 1) between 8 AM and 6 PM EST (M-F).
File a compliant
You can file a complaint online or through your nearest DVET(link is external). The DVET will determine if the employer violated USERRA. Unlike the ESGR, DVETs cannot contact employers until a claim has been filed. After filing, the DVET will try and negotiate an adequate remedy. Go here to file a USERRA complaint online(link is external), or download a form, fill it out and follow the mailing instructions. Your complaint will be forwarded to a DVET office in your area.
Unfortunately, DVET offices have limited enforcement power, and an employer may decide not to comply with the recommended solution. If the negotiations break down, your DVET advocate will ask if you want your information sent to the Attorney General (for private/state employees) or to the Office of Special Counsel (federal employees). These government lawyers have the power to enforce the USERRA laws but can take only a few of the many cases that are filed. If this doesn't work, your remaining option would be to file a claim based on what type of employee you are:
|Federal Employee||File an appeal with the Merit Systems Protection Board.|
|State Employee*||File a lawsuit in a court of that state.|
|Private Employee||File a lawsuit in United States District Court.|
To determine the appropriate route for the process, click here and start the USERRA Advisor and step-by-step instructions.