Office of the Attorney General
September 3, 1998
MEMORANDUM FOR HEADS OF DEPARTMENT COMPONENTS
FROM: THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
SUBJECT: Support of the National Guard and Reserve Members
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA)
called for the Federal Government to be the Nation's "model employer" of National Guard and
Reserve (NGR) members. Congress passed this Act, which is codified at 38 United States Code
Section 4301 et seq., to encourage NGR service, to minimize the disruption that such service may
cause both employees and employers, and to prohibit discrimination against employees because
of their service.
The goals of the USERRA are best achieved by promoting and facilitating communication and
cooperation between employers and their employees who participate in the NGR. The National
Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (NCESGR), a committee under the
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, was established to promote such cooperation.
The Committee employs over 4200 volunteers dedicated to promoting good relations between
"citizen-soldiers," and their civilian employers through education, communication, and mediation.
Additionally, the Department of Labor's Veterans' Employment and Training Services (VETS)
provides outreach services, formal assistance, and investigation of USERRA claims.
Given the call for the Federal Government to be the Nation's "model employer" of NGR participants,
we must support and embrace the programs and efforts of the NCESGR and VETS. We must also
recognize and address any unnecessary and unwarranted barriers to service in the NGR. While I
realize that some of our employees cannot vacate their positions with the Department during a
mobilization of the Reserves, we must fully support those employees who make the sacrifices when
military service is required.
In working toward the Department being a "model employer" of NGR members, I am asking you to:
- designate a liaison officer for this initiative;
- establish channels of communication with your NGR employees;
- ensure that job applicants are not denied employment because of NGR service;
- ensure that employee job and career opportunities are not limited or reduced
- because of NGR service;
- ensure that employees are granted leaves of absence for military training,
- consistent with existing laws, without sacrifice of vacation; and
- distribute to all employees, and display throughout your organization, the attached
- "Statement of Support for the Guard and Reserve," signed by myself, Secretary of
Defense William S. Cohen, and William H. Bowen, Chairman, NCESGR. I also
encourage you to sign and display a similar statement throughout your organization.
These combined efforts are the starting ground in moving the Department forward to being a
"model employer" of NGR participants. Joanne W. Simms, Director of Personnel, Justice
Management Division will serve as the Department's Project Officer for this important initiative.
Ms. Simms may be reached on (202) 514-6788.