WASHINGTON — Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales today announced the launch of a new Web site designed to safeguard the civilian employment rights, voting rights and financial security of members of the Armed Services and veterans. The Web site, http://www.servicemembers.gov is a partnership between the Justice Department and other federal agencies that oversee these protections.
"Every day, men and women of our nation's armed forces put their lives on the line to protect the freedoms we enjoy, and it is our responsibility to ensure that their rights are protected in return," said Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales. "Through this new website, members of the armed services will have the information they need about the rights guaranteed to them by law. At the Justice Department, we are proud to help those in uniform both know about the rights they have and vigorously defend those rights under the rule of law."
The Web site, launched today, offers information and resources about three laws passed specifically to protect servicemembers. The Uniformed Services and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) prohibits employers from discriminating or retaliating against an employee or applicant for employment because of past, current, or future military obligation. The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) requires that states allow certain groups of citizens, including servicemembers and their families, to register and vote absentee in a timely manner in elections for federal offices. The Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act (SCRA) provides civil protections for military personnel while on active duty.
The Justice Department has brought multiple cases on behalf of servicemembers or veterans. Most recently, the Justice Department reached an agreement with Connecticut to protect the voting rights of military and overseas voters. The Department also filed the first class-action lawsuit under USERRA against American Airlines for its failure to provide the same employment benefits to its pilots who had taken military leave as it had provided to its pilots who had taken similar types of non-military leave. In another case, the Department took action to protect the rights of residents of a nursing home under contract with Veteran’s Administration in New Mexico.
The site serves as “one stop shopping” for servicemembers and veterans and will provide useful information and links to services provided by the Justice Department and other federal agencies. The site answers commonly asked questions involving rights and protections. The site also provides contact information and directions to file complaints with the Justice Department and other federal agencies which investigate and prosecute possible civil rights violations.