As a federal correctional officer for the DOJ in Washington, D.C., Mathew Tully took pride in protecting the public from convicted felons. But in October 1995--only two months into his job--Tully, a member of the National Guard, was called to duty. Deployed first to Korea, then to Iraq, Tully was on active duty for three years and looked forward to returning home and getting back to work. Unfortunately, it wasn't a warm homecoming.
"The DOJ hired me back," Tully explains. "But it didn't promote me, it didn't provide me health insurance while I was gone, it didn't provide me adequate compensation and time off because of my military service."
Tully, who founded Tully, Rinckey & Associates in Albany, N.Y., believes this law is a critical element of the country's security. "One of the reasons so many people enlist in the National Guard is because they know their jobs will be there when they return," he says.
Despite Congress' clarification to USERRA in January 2006, many companies continue to struggle to get their arms around the law. "The issues are usually technical rather than intentional," Kee says. "Employers generally want to do the right thing."
"It only works if you guarantee re-employment rights," he says. "It's also important to honor these men and women for their service and make sure that having a job when they come home is one less thing they and their families have to worry about."