On April 18, 2012, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced a bill entitled the Servicemembers Rights Enforcement Improvement Act (SREIA), which would strengthen the employment rights of veterans and members of the military. The bill is intended to improve the enforcement of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), which prohibits employers from penalizing or denying jobs to service members based on their military status.
If signed into law, SREIA would enable the Justice Department to investigate and bring lawsuits against employers with a history or pattern of USERRA violations. The proposed legislation would also allow the Office of Special Counsel to subpoena relevant testimony and documents from federal employees and agencies. In addition, the legislation would protect service members from being improperly overcharged or foreclosed upon by banks.
“[This legislation]… will help force the hand of those who have failed to follow the law when it comes to providing our nation’s heroes with the basic safeguards they deserve,” said Sen. Murray, who is the Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
The Employment Law Group® law firm has an extensive veterans rights’ practice and has published a guide for protecting employees covered by USERRA entitled “Litigating Claims Under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.”