WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Representative Scott Franklin (FL-18), along with House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Mike Bost, introduced H.R. 3943, Servicemember Employment Protection Act. This bill would amend the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) to ensure those serving in our Reserves or National Guard who are called up into active duty are not disadvantaged or discriminated against after their return to their civilian careers.
“No one who is recalled to active duty or who makes the choice to serve should have to worry about discrimination or mistreatment when returning to the workplace,” said Rep. Franklin. “As both a combat veteran recalled to active duty twice after 9/11 AND a former business owner, I uniquely understand the importance of reemployment protections for servicemembers and their families. This simple fix will make it easier for brave Americans to choose to serve their country and less costly to seek legal remedy to their grievances. I thank Chairman Bost for his support.”
“USERRA ensures that our deployed servicemembers are not negatively affected by their employers when they return home. However, it’s been far too long since Congress took a hard look at how USERRA can be improved to better serve the needs of today’s warfighters. Which is why, under my leadership, our first Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity hearing of the Congress was on USERRA and the future of workforce protections for servicemembers,” said Chairman Bost. “The bill my friend and colleague, Rep. Franklin, introduced today would make needed changes to modernize USERRA and ease the claims burden should a servicemember need to take their case to court. I look forward to passing this bill out of our committee as soon as possible.”
Under the existing USERRA, recalled Servicemembers in civilian jobs who provide proper notice and have not exceeded a 5-year cumulative service cap are entitled to certain protections, including the right to return to their position and to recourses if employers violate their reemployment rights.
Specifically, the Servicemember Employment Protection Act strengthens existing protections by:
- Expanding injunctive relief if the servicemember demonstrates a violation and is likely to succeed in proving an employer violated their rights
- Mandating reimbursement of attorney fees in successful cases
- Increasing eligibility for medical leave if the injury is related to their service
- Requiring formerly-immune federal agencies to comply with these guidelines
The House Veterans Affairs Committee’s Economic Opportunity Subcommittee held a public oversight hearing on the effectiveness of USERRA and to examine the future of workforce protections for servicemembers on March 9, 2023. The committee is also expected to consider this bill in markup in the coming weeks.
You can read the complete text of the bill here.