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Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act


The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), prohibits discrimination against persons because of their service in the Armed Forces Reserve, the National Guard, or other uniformed services. USERRA prohibits an employer from denying any benefit of employment on the basis of an individual’s membership, application for membership, performance of service, application for service, or obligation for service in the uniformed services. USERRA also protects the right of veterans, reservists, National Guard members, and certain other members of the uniformed services to reclaim their civilian employment after being absent due to military service or training.

Ref:  38 U.S.C. § 4301, et. seq.

Important Update

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) began directly receiving and investigating certain federal sector USERRA claims on February 8, 2005.

Pursuant to a demonstration project established by the Veterans Benefits Improvement Act of 2004 (VBIA), P.L. 108-454, signed by President Bush on December 10, 2004, OSC, rather than the Department of Labor’s Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS), will have authority to investigate federal sector USERRA claims brought by persons whose social security number ends in an odd-numbered digit. Under the project, OSC will also receive and investigate all federal sector USERRA claims containing a related prohibited personnel practice allegation over which OSC has jurisdiction regardless of the person’s social security number.

OSC administers the demonstration project, which was intended to run from February 8, 2005 until September 30, 2007. Congress has extended the demonstration project until December 31, 2007.

Filing a USERRA Complaint with OSC

If you are a federal employee or applicant for federal employment and believe that a federal agency has violated your USERRA rights, you may file a USERRA claim with OSC if:

  1. Your social security number ends in an odd numbered digit (i.e., ends in 1, 3, 5, 7, or 9)  or
  2. Regardless of your social security number, if you also allege that the involved federal agency has engaged in a prohibited personnel practice. (Click on “Prohibited Personnel Practices” heading for more information on what constitutes a prohibited personnel practice.)

If you are not alleging a prohibited personnel practice and your social security number ends in an even numbered digit (i.e., 0, 2, 4, 6, 8), OSC is not authorized to receive directly your USERRA complaint. Instead, you should first file your complaint with VETS. If VETS is unsuccessful in resolving the complaint, you may request that VETS refer the complaint to OSC. If the Special Counsel believes there is merit to the complaint, OSC will initiate an action before the Merit Systems Protection Board and appear on your behalf. The successful claimant is entitled to receive the employment benefits that he/she was denied as the result of the agency's violation of USERRA. Additionally, a prevailing claimant is entitled to attorney's fees, expert witness fees, and other litigation expenses.

Please use Form OSC-14 to submit a USERRA complaint to OSC.  Electronic filing of a USERRA complaint is not currently available.

Informational USERRA Poster

Should you require information about the informational USERRA poster you may be required to post at the workplace, please visit http://www.dol.gov/vets.

OSC Contact

If you have any questions about OSC's role in enforcing USERRA, please contact USERRA Unit, by telephone at (202) 254-3620, or by e-mail at userra@osc.gov.

Other Useful Web Sites

The Department of Labor's Veterans' Employment and Training Service maintains a home page at http://www.dol.gov/vets. The VETS home page contains an interactive guided program that provides valuable information and answers questions about USERRA.

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Last Updated: 10/24/08