Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (“USERRA”)?
USERRA is a federal statute that protects servicemembers’ and veterans’ civilian employment rights. Among other things, under certain conditions, USERRA requires employers to put individuals back to work in their civilian jobs after military service. USERRA also protects servicemembers from discrimination in the workplace based on their military service or affiliation.
How does the Department of Justice enforce USERRA?
A servicemember who seeks the Department of Justice’s assistance must first file a complaint with the Department of Labor (DOL). DOL will investigate the complaint, determine whether it has merit and attempt to voluntarily resolve meritorious complaints. If DOL cannot resolve a USERRA complaint, the person filing the complaint has the right to have DOL forward his or her complaint to the Department of Justice for review. The DOJ is responsible for enforcing the provisions of the USERRA against state and local government employers and private employers. If the Department of Justice takes your case, it will serve as your attorney if you work for a private employer or a local government. If you work for a state government, the Department of Justice may bring a lawsuit in the name of the United States.
What can I do if I am a servicemember who may be the victim of employment discrimination based on my military service?
Servicemembers who believe that they have been victims of an employment discrimination based on their military service may file a complaint with the Department of Labor or file their own lawsuit in federal or state court. If you choose to file with DOL, you may file one of two ways - you may submit a signed hard copy of Form 1010 or electronically file. To submit a hard copy, you can download Form 1010 to your computer, complete the items on the form that are relevant to your claim, sign and date the form, and mail it to the nearest VETS office. You may also file a Form 1010 electronically via the Intranet by completing and submitting the online form. You should be aware that some courts have held that a lawsuit must be filed within a certain period of time after the alleged USERRA violation. Thus, it is important that you file a complaint with DOL or consult with a private attorney as soon as possible.
You may also seek the assistance of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (“ESGR”). ESGR is a Department of Defense agency that maintains an Ombudsman Service Program. That program provides information, counseling and informal mediation of issues relating to USERRA compliance. You may contact the ESGR about your employment situation by calling toll-free 1 (800) 336-4590.
Finally, you are not required to submit your USERRA claim to DOL or the Department of Justice. You have the right to file a USERRA lawsuit with your own private counsel or on your own.
How can I seek representation from the Attorney General on my USERRA claim?
In order to have your USERRA case reviewed by the Attorney General, you must first file a complaint with the Department of Labor. DOL will investigate the complaint and may attempt to voluntarily resolve the complaint. If DOL cannot resolve the complaint, upon the complainant’s request, DOL will forward to the complaint to the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice then reviews the case to determine whether representation is appropriate.
You are not required to submit your USERRA claim to DOL or the Department of Justice. You have the right to file a USERRA lawsuit with your own private counsel or on your own.
What is the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (“SCRA”)?
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act of 2003 (SCRA), formerly known as the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act of 1940 (SSCRA), is a federal law that provides protections for military members as they enter active duty. It covers issues such as rental agreements, security deposits, prepaid rent, eviction, installment contracts, credit card interest rates, mortgage interest rates, mortgage foreclosure, civil judicial proceedings, automobile leases, life insurance, health insurance and income tax payments.
What can I do if I am a servicemember whose rights under the SCRA may have been violated?
You should contact your nearest Armed Forces Legal Assistance Program office to see if the SCRA applies. Dependents of servicemembers can also contact or visit local military legal assistance offices where they reside. Please consult the military legal assistance office locator for each branch of the armed forces.