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 U.S. Office of Special Counsel
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OSC Pledges “100 percent” Commitment to Enforcing USERRA

(202) 254-3600                 

     Today, at the Pentagon, Special Counsel Scott J. Bloch, head of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), pledged to aggressively prosecute any Federal agency that fails to fully comply with the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (“USERRA”). USERRA requires full reemployment with benefits to all demobilized Reserve and Guard forces returning to their civilian occupations while also prohibiting any discrimination in employment on the basis of past, present, or future military service.

     Bloch signed an ESGR Statement of Support alongside the Honorable Thomas F. Hall, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, Lt. General Roger C. Schultz, Director Army National Guard and Bob Hollingsworth, Executive Director of the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense agency dedicated to educating and assisting reservists and their employers regarding USERRA’s strict requirements.

     With the country in the midst of an historic and forthcoming demobilization of National Guard and Reserve forces, Bloch publicly pledged the full support and cooperation of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel for ESGR along with “my solemn commitment to aggressively pursue the rights of Reservists upon their return to the Federal civilian workplace.” Bloch also told the military officials at a ceremonial signing event that “Their sacrifices merit no less than 100 percent commitment to enforcing USERRA.” Bloch is the father of a young Marine about to redeploy to Iraq.

     The OSC is a Federal investigative and prosecutorial agency with sole enforcement authority to prosecute USERRA violations among the Federal workforce. USERRA prohibits the denial of any benefit of employment because of past, present, or future military service and applies to all U.S. employers, whether private, local, state or Federal government.

     As the new Special Counsel, Bloch pledged to vigorously enforce that law in the Federal workplace and on June 23, 2004 filed the first OSC USERRA prosecution case in the history of the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) against a Federal agency. In testimony before the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs the same day, Bloch also challenged all Federal agencies to be model employers under USERRA, by “protecting fully, vigilantly, and enthusiastically the employment and reemployment rights of its employees and applicants for employment.” “It is an ambitious goal, but one that is within reach – and it is the right thing to do,” Bloch stated. (The full testimony is available on OSC’s web site, at http://www.osc.gov/speeches.htm).


The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) is an independent investigative and prosecutorial agency and operates as a secure channel for disclosures of whistleblower complaints and abuse of authority. Its primary mission is to safeguard the merit system in Federal employment by protecting Federal employees and applicants from prohibited personnel practices, especially retaliation for whistleblowing. OSC also has jurisdiction over the Hatch Act and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act. For more information please visit our web site at www.osc.gov or call 1-800-872-9855.