On March 24, 2012, John Berry, the director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), requested that senior federal executives ensure that National Guard and military reservist troops returning to their civilian jobs are not penalized for serving in the military. Berry made his request in a memo to the President’s Management Council and the Chief Human Capital Officers
Council. He wrote the memo in response to a Washington Post article from last month, which reported that the federal government is the biggest violator of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).
“We must continue to pay close attention to our returning reserve and guard population and ensure we manage their reintegration and maintain their professional trajectory,” said Berry.
Berry also said that he is encouraged by recent Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) figures, which show a drop in veteran unemployment. The BLS reported in March that unemployment among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans
dropped from 12.1 percent in 2011 to 7.6 percent in February 2012.
“We still have work to do, but the trajectory shows the impact we have when we focus our efforts and work together,” Berry told a leadership conference in New York.
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.”