More Attention to USERRA - A Bureaucratic Happening
by Michael Fox
The Department of Labor and the Department of Justice have signed a Memorandum of Understanding purporting to "ensure that the employment rights of men and women returning from military service are vigorously protected." More specifically it "streamlines and strengthens" enforcement of USERRA according to the DOL press release. Although I must admit to having a knee-jerk reaction against what I can envision as a hotly negotiated document between two executive departments, that will probably never see the light of day, that is probably both unfair and not true. But whether it is or not, what clearly is of interest is what the Department has been doing to educate the public and military members about the protections of USERRA. Quoting from the press release, DOL has been:
Providing briefings to more than 158,000 service members and others on USERRA;
Responding to almost 26,000 requests for technical assistance;
Distributing more than 240 televised Public Service Announcements, with a second announcement to be released shortly; and
Addressing most of the major human resource and employer organizations.
It sounds as most, if not all, returning soldiers (and sailors, marines and air force personnel) will be well aware of their rights (or at least their understanding of what DOL told them about their rights) when they get back home. Probably makes sense for employers to be equally aware. One place to start is the recently released proposed rules under USERRA, discussed in this earlier post.