Returning veterans: If you try to go back to your old job and are turned down, you can appeal. That process now includes federal government employees as well as non-government workers.
The U.S. Department of Labor recently released new regulations to include government workers. While their procedures are somewhat different from private sector workers, the same rights apply.
Employers should bring their USERRA posters up to date to reflect the changes in the regulations, as required by law.
USERRA stands for the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994. It offers job protections for returning veterans and members of the National Guard and the Reserve. Veterans returning to their old jobs after less than 5 years are entitled to be rehired. Reemployment is sometimes guaranteed after 7 or more years.
What if your old employer refuses to rehire you? Whether you’re a government or a private sector employee, you begin your challenge the same way. You file a claim under USERRA through the Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS), part of the Labor Department. Once it receives your claim, VETS makes a determination based on the facts of your case. Usually, if you fall under the qualifying number of years you will be entitled to be rehired.
Employers usually comply with the VETS finding and rehire veterans. But what if they don’t?
Returning veterans have recourse to an appeals process, and there is no charge to the employee filing the appeal.
If you’re a government employee you turn to the Office of Special Counsel. At that point the Merit Systems Protection Board reviews the claim and makes a finding. That board also has the authority to award damages. If you’re employed by one of the federal intelligence agencies, you take your claim to your agency’s Inspector General.
If you’re a non-government worker, your claim is referred to the Department of Justice. The Justice Department is responsible for bringing your case to a federal District Court. If the court finds that your employer’s actions were willful, then you may receive damages.
You see, the secret to reporting proper employee new hire information in North Carolina, or in this case, North Dakota, has more to do with keeping track of all of your employees’ information than it does knowing the intricacies of the labor law of your particular state.
Sure, it’s important to know that in North Dakota you have 20 days from the time that that employee has their first day of work to report them to the North Dakota Child Support Enforcement Division. And it’s good to know, that you can do these reports to the North Dakota Child Support Enforcement Division via the Internet, or over a secure Web file transfer, or through a payroll service whereby your payroll administrator automatically reports the information to the government for you, or even by you yourself mailing in the W-4 forms or other forms from the employee.
But it is also very very important (should I throw another “very” in there?) to know how to get all of this information on new hires handy. You will need to know your new hires’ names, addresses, and social security numbers, and you will need to report your employer name, address, and federal employer tax ID number. That last stuff is easy—it’s all about you, the employer.
But for the information on your new hires, you will need to keep all of those application and orientation forms handy, such as the employment application itself, the employees’ resume, their drug policy forms, their training checklist, and anything and everything else that they completed and signed when they first started at your organization—every thing that should be safely stored in their employee folder.