What Do I Do if the Agency Violated USERRA or VEOA?
There are a variety of factors that contribute to a successful MSPB appeal under the USERRA or VEOA, which are both complicated federal laws designed to protect those in uniform and those who have served in uniform. The Federal Practice Group can work with you to build a thorough and compelling case before the MSPB. Our experienced legal team has a long record of success in USERRA and VEOA hearings and are dedicated to assisting those who have served in the armed forces.
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) protects the rights of federal employees who are also serving as reservists in the armed services. There are two types of USERRA claims that fall within the MSPB’s jurisdiction:
- Reemployment cases, in which a federal employee claims that a federal agency failed to comply with its obligations to reemploy the employee after they have completed a period of military service, typically a call to active duty.
- Discrimination cases, in which a federal employee claims that a federal agency has denied the employee (or applicant) initial employment, reemployment, retention in employment, promotion, or any “benefit of employment” on the basis of the appellant’s military service.
There are several avenues available to federal employees for redress under USERRA. You may file a complaint with the Department of Labor, which will investigate the complaint and attempt to resolve it if their investigation reveals that the agency committed a USERRA violation. For additional information on how to file a USERRA complaint with the Department of Labor see: http://www.dol.gov/elaws/userra.htm . If the Department of Labor cannot resolve the complaint, the Secretary of Labor must provide written notification to the employee, who may then file a USERRA appeal at the MSPB or file a complaint with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel. A federal employee may also elect to file a USERRA claim directly with the MSPB.
Note: While there is no deadline to file a USERRA complaint, the sooner the better.
The Veterans Employment Opportunities Act (VEOA) is a federal law that provides certain federal employees and applicants with an avenue for relief if a federal agency violates an employee’s or applicant’s veterans’ preference rights. Those who have veterans’ preference rights include veterans who have been separated from the armed forces under honorable conditions and who served on active duty in the armed forces during a war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized or during particular defined periods, as well as disabled veterans. The Office of Personnel Management’s VetGuide provides a comprehensive list of campaigns and expeditions which qualify for veterans’ preference: http://www.fedshirevets.gov/hire/hrp/vetguide/index.aspx.
Before a federal employee or applicant can file a VEOA appeal with the MSPB, they must first file a complaint with the Department of Labor and give the Department of Labor at least 60 days to attempt to resolve the complaint. For additional information on how to file a veterans’ preference complaint see: http://www.dol.gov/vets/programs/vetspref/veterans_preference_fs.htm.
There are a variety of factors that contribute to a successful MSPB appeal under the USERRA or VEOA. The Federal Practice Group can work with you to build a thorough and compelling case. Our experienced legal team has a long record of success in USERRA and VEOA hearings before the MSPB.