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How We Can Help

Servicemembers and veterans protect and advance our democracy.

The Department of Justice works to ensure that the rights of the brave men and women of our Nation’s armed forces, and the veterans who have served in the past, are safeguarded from discrimination and unfair treatment.

The mission of the Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative is to strengthen and enhance the Department of Justice’s efforts on behalf of servicemembers, veterans, and their families by coordinating and expanding our enforcement, outreach, and training. 

Learn more about how we can help:


Enforcement

The Department of Justice enforces several laws that protect the rights of servicemembers, veterans, and their families.

The Initiative is located with the Department’s Civil Rights Division, which has expertise and jurisdiction over three statutes that specifically address servicemember and veteran rights: 

  • Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)
  • Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act (USERRA)
  • Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA)

The Civil Rights Division also serves veterans and the military community through our enforcement of more broadly applicable civil rights statutes that prohibit discrimination based on race, sex, disability, religion, and other protected classes.

The Initiative also coordinates closely with other sections of the Department, including the Civil Division and United States Attorneys Offices, regarding prosecution of fraud perpetrated against servicemembers and veterans. 

Outreach and Education

The Initiative conducts outreach and training for military populations and the people who serve them, such as veteran organizations, military training schools, military legal assistance offices, and law school clinics.  
These trainings educate the military community – and those representing them - about their rights under federal law.

Policy

The Initiative monitors and identifies current legal issues affecting servicemembers and veterans and proposes legislative and policy action where appropriate. 

File a Complaint

How to file an SCRA complaint with the Department of Justice

If you believe your rights under the SCRA have been violated, please contact your local military legal assistance office.  

If you are not eligible for military legal assistance services and would like the Department to evaluate your claim, please submit a complaint.

Please note that we are unable to investigate every SCRA complaint we receive.  Furthermore, although the Department files SCRA lawsuits in the name of the United States on behalf of affected servicemembers, we cannot form an attorney-client relationship with any individual servicemember.  

How to file a complaint about employment rights under 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 Department of Justice is responsible for enforcing the provisions of 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.

Servicemembers who believe that they have been victims of an employment discrimination based on their military service may file a complaint with the DOL or file their own lawsuit in federal or state court.  Find out more information about how to file a USERRA complaint with the Department of Labor

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.  Please note that 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.

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. 

Who to contact if you have a question about your right to vote

The FVAP administers many of the federal responsibilities under UOCAVA, and assists servicemembers, their families and overseas voters to facilitate their participation in the voting process.  If you need assistance in registering or voting under UOCAVA, you can contact FVAP.  If you believe you have been denied any of the rights guaranteed by UOCAVA, you can contact the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division, Department of Justice. 

How to file a complaint about your disability rights

Learn more on the ada.gov site.

How to report a civil rights violation to the Department of Justice

You can report a violation using the Department’s Civil Rights Division reporting portal.

Updated October 24, 2022