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U.S. Office of Special Counsel

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Washington, D.C. 20036-4505


(202) 653-7984

   The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) today announced the favorable settlement of a complaint filed by a member of the U.S. Naval Reserve who alleged that the Internal Revenue Service violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) when it denied him employment because his reservist obligations precluded him from attending job training.

    The complainant, who asked that his name not be released, alleged that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) withdrew a job offer as a Tax Examining Assistant (TEA) when it discovered that his reservist obligations prevented him from attending a five-week training session, which newly hired TEA’s are required to complete at the start of their employment. 

    According to the complainant, at the time he was hired, his military duty (annual training) had already been scheduled and conflicted with the agency’s mandatory training. The complainant’s military service also conflicted with the IRS’s next scheduled TEA training session. 

    Although the IRS attempted to accommodate the complainant by offering him employment as a TEA with a training session scheduled at a time that would not conflict with his reservist duties, the offer did not include a remedy for the loss of employment benefits resulting from the initial offer being withdrawn. 

    Under USERRA, a person who is a member of a uniformed service may not be denied employment, or any benefit of employment, on the basis of membership in or the performance of military service.  

    Pursuant to USERRA, the complainant initially filed his complaint with the Department of Labor, Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS). After VETS notified the complainant, that it had concluded that the statute had not been violated, he requested that the matter be referred for litigation before the Merit Systems Protection Board (the Board). Because the complaint had been filed against a federal executive agency (rather than a State or private employer), the Secretary of Labor transferred the matter to OSC for review and possible action before the Board. 

    OSC reviewed the complaint and, rejecting the conclusion VETS had reached, concluded that the IRS’s withdrawal of the initial employment offer violated USERRA. With OSC’s intervention, the IRS and the complainant reached a settlement that included the complainant’s retroactive reinstatement to a TEA position and monetary damages. 

    Special Counsel Elaine Kaplan said, “As this case demonstrates, OSC is committed to protecting the rights granted to veterans, reservists, and others under USERRA.” Kaplan also noted that she was “pleased with the manner in which the IRS responded to OSC’s view of the case,” and complimented that agency “for diligently working with us to reach a mutually agreeable settlement” with the complainant.