USERRA is Enforced by the VETS
USERRA is the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act. It is enforced by the Veterans Employment and Training Service, VETS, a division of the Department of Labor. USERRA replaced VRRA in 1994.
Before Year's End, Agency Official Says The Labor Department plans to propose rules before the end of the year that would formally implement the 1994 Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, Frederico Juarbe Jr., assistant secretary for veterans' employment and training, told a congressional panel July 24. Although the law does not require promulgation of implementing regulations, Juarbe suggested that the rulemaking effort would further his agency's efforts to promote compliance with USERRA. Juarbe is head of DOL's Veterans' Employment and Training Services.
In announcing the plan to promulgate regulations under the 10-year-old law, Juarbe explained that the move is intended to help employers, veterans, and military reservists by providing "clear and consistent guidance" regarding the statute's requirements. USERRA was enacted to protect the re-employment rights of those who leave their civilian jobs for military service and to ensure that they are not discriminated against because of their military service or obligations.
Testifying before the House Veterans' Affairs Subcommittee on Benefits, Juarbe stressed the growing importance of the protections afforded by USERRA in light of the mobilization of reservists following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and, more recently, the onset of hostilities in Iraq. As of this week, he said, 200,000 military reservists remain on active duty. According to the Labor Department's most recent regulatory agenda, the proposed regulations would provide "guidance on a wide variety of topics, including re-employment positions, discrimination, benefits, pensions, and enforcement." The regulations, which Juarbe said should be issued in final form before the end of 2004, would help "inform protected persons and employers of their rights and responsibilities under USERRA," according to the agenda, which was published May 27 (101 DLR E-1, 5/27/03).
Updating the subcommittee on VETS's enforcement activities, Juarbe said the number of cases opened by the agency increased by more than 30 percent in
fiscal year 2002, compared with the previous year. However, the jump "is not proportional to the enormous number of men and women who have been called to
duty," he added. In fiscal year 2002, DOL opened 1,195 new USERRA cases, compared with 895 in FY 2001. In the first three quarters of FY 2003, the
agency has opened 953 new cases, according to Juarbe, who said if this rate continues it will result in an increase for the year of about 6 percent.
Please go to Links and take a look at several sites that offer information regarding USERRA and VETS.