Report: Agencies Fail to Track Disabled Reservists' Complaints
Federal agencies are failing to track employment complaints filed by returning military reservists with disabilities, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office.
Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the Defense Department has mobilized more than 500,000 reservists. But "as demobilized reservists eventually return to their civilian life, their civilian employment and the difficulties they face in dealing with re-employment matters remain areas of interest," GAO said in a letter to Congress.
Reserve soldiers are entitled under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act to get their old jobs back when they return from active duty, as long as they meet certain requirements. But some reservists who have incurred disabilities as a result of military service file complaints with the government over their inability to return to civilian employment.
Inadequate tracking, however, is leading to a failure to address such complaints, GAO found (GAO-07-259).
The four federal agencies responsible for assisting reservists with USERRA complaints -- the Defense, Justice and Labor departments and the Office of Special Counsel -- addressed about 16,000 informal and formal complaints between fiscal 2004 and fiscal 2006. But GAO found that no one agency had complete visibility over all complaints in the system and only a small percentage were reported to Congress.
The GAO report is linked in the excerpt above.