WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Department of Labor (DOL) yesterday notified U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI), Chairman of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, that the Department has acted on his recommendation that a federal department or agency be notified whenever an employee who is a veteran files a USERRA complaint against the department or agency. USERRA is the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, which protects veterans' employment rights.
"I commend the Department of Labor for improving communication with federal agencies regarding veterans' employment claims. Veterans who are federal employees should not have to do battle with the government they fought for, just to have their employment rights respected. DOL has acted on my recommendation without any legislative requirement, and I appreciate that initiative," said Senator Akaka.
On October 31, 2007, Senator Akaka held a hearing on USERRA, and other veterans' employment matters. Among other issues, Chairman Akaka expressed concern about the high number of complaints veterans have filed against federal employers, and the absence of any requirement that federal agencies be notified of complaints against them. Following the hearing, Senator Akaka suggested that DOL notify senior federal agency officials, to spur action and resolution of USERRA cases. Yesterday Chairman Akaka received a letter from Charles S. Ciccolella, Assistant Secretary for Veterans' Employment and Training, at DOL, notifying him that DOL had implemented his recommendation.
Secretary Ciccolella notified Senator Akaka that DOL's updated USERRA Operations Manual now incorporates his recommendation. In the event that DOL staff reviews a complaint against a federal employer, that department or agency's Chief Human Capital Officer will receive notification of the complaint.
February 15, 2008