OSC Seal

 U.S. Office of Special Counsel
 1730 M Street, N.W., Suite 218
 Washington, D.C. 20036-4505


CONTACT: CATHY DEEDS, 202-254-3607, cdeeds@osc.gov
      WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) filed a petition for corrective action on behalf of a former employee of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District (agency) under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA), the federal law that protects the civilian careers of persons who perform military service. OSC represents Russell G. Jones and filed the petition with the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB).

      Upon reviewing Jones’s case, OSC determined that Jones satisfied the three prerequisites for acquiring reemployment rights under USERRA, namely: providing the agency advance notice of his intent to perform military service with the U.S. Air Force (USAF), performing qualifying military service for the USAF, and requesting reemployment. OSC concluded that the agency’s failure to reemploy Jones is a clear violation of USERRA because there was no change in the agency’s circumstances that made it impossible or unreasonable to reemploy Jones––i.e., the only possible defense for failing to reemploy in a case such as this. OSC also concluded that the agency violated an important U.S. Office of Personnel Management regulation requiring federal employers to inform their employees of their USERRA rights and obligations at the time they leave to perform military service.
      The petition requests that the MSPB order the agency to a) reemploy Jones to a position same or similar in pay, status, and seniority to the position Jones would have held had he been continuously employed, b) provide Jones with all employment benefits based on seniority, including, but not limited to, all within grade increases in salary, all promotions, and all other benefits of seniority to which he is entitled, c) award Jones back pay, plus interest, from the effective date of his reemployment, and d) make contributions and necessary adjustments to Jones’s Thrift Savings Plan in accordance with USERRA. OSC also asks the MSPB to order that agency officials receive USERRA training.

      “Upon taking office, I pledged to enforce vigorously the law that protects the employment and reemployment rights of service members, and the filing of this petition demonstrates my commitment to do so,” said Special Counsel Scott Bloch. “Moreover, the filing of this action on the eve of Veteran’s Day––a day to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism and self-sacrifices for the common good of our great country––should cause all federal employers to pause and reflect upon their responsibilities under USERRA to ensure that employees who step aside from their civilian careers to perform military service are not forgotten.”

      USERRA prohibits discrimination against persons because of their service in the Armed Forces Reserve, the National Guard, or other uniformed services. USERRA prohibits an employer from denying any benefit of employment on the basis of an individual’s membership, application for membership, performance of service, application for service, or obligation for service in the uniformed services. USERRA also protects the right of veterans, reservists, National Guard members, and certain other members of the uniformed services to reclaim their civilian employment after being absent due to military service or training.

      Pursuant to a demonstration project established by the Veterans Benefits Improvement Act of 2004 (VBIA), P.L. 108-454, OSC, rather than the Department of Labor’s Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS), has the authority to investigate federal sector USERRA claims brought by persons whose social security number ends in an odd-numbered digit. Under the project, OSC will also receive and investigate all federal sector USERRA claims containing a related prohibited personnel practice allegation over which OSC has jurisdiction regardless of the person’s social security number.



The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) is an independent investigative and prosecutorial agency and operates as a secure channel for disclosures of whistleblower complaints and abuse of authority. Its primary mission is to safeguard the merit system in federal employment by protecting federal employees and applicants from prohibited personnel practices, especially retaliation for whistleblowing. OSC also has jurisdiction over the Hatch Act and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act. For more information please visit our web site at www.osc.gov or call 1-800-872-9855.