Special Counsel: USERRA Enforcement Will Be Aggressive
CONTACT: LOREN SMITH, 202-254-3714, email@example.com
WASHINGTON – Protecting the job rights of military servicemembers was the watchword at the Reserve Officers Association building on March 2nd. Scott Bloch, head of an agency responsible for enforcing these protections, gave the keynote address for an all-day conference on the issue.
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, or USERRA, is the law passed by Congress in 1994 to protect servicemembers’ jobs when they return from active duty and to prevent discrimination in the workplace based on past, present, or future military service or other uniformed services. In 2004, Congress set up a demonstration project whereby the U.S. Office of Special Counsel would have an expanded role in enforcing that law.
Bloch’s speech touted the successes of OSC’s enforcement, including an exemplary corrective action rate of better than 25%, or one in four.
The Reserve Officers Association was chartered in 1950 to advocate strong Reserve Components and national security, and to support members of the National Guard and Reserves in their military and civilian lives.
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel is an independent watchdog agency that protects worker rights and the merit system within the federal government. Many experts feel that USERRA enforcement is a natural extension of their other responsibilities under the law that protects federal employees and applicants for federal employment against the twelve prohibited personnel practices found at 5 U.S.C. § 2302(b). Among the prohibited personnel practices are discrimination, nepotism, whistleblower retaliation, and knowing violations of veterans’ preference rights.
Special Counsel Scott Bloch said, “I spoke at this conference and said what I have been saying for three years: we need to take care of our brave service members, the Guard and Reserve, and promptly reemploy them and restore them to their full benefits. OSC has been aggressive in its enforcement of USERRA because we cannot allow our government to abuse those whom it asks to go in harms way, or to protect and guard our land at home.”
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 whistle blowing. 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.