Provision of proposed bill would strengthen USERRA and servicemembers’ rights to leave their jobs for medical treatment.

American Legion National Commander Jimmie L. Foster wrote a letter July 22 to Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Texas, supporting his “Wounded Veteran Job Security Act” draft legislation.

If passed, the bill would prohibit discrimination and acts of reprisal by employers against veterans who must temporarily leave their jobs to receive treatment for service-connected illnesses, injuries and disabilities. The measure would further strengthen provisions of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).

Passed by Congress in 1994, USERRA protects the rights of servicemembers to be reemployed after returning from active duty, including reserve or National Guard members.

“It was the intent of Congress by enacting USERRA,” Foster wrote in his letter, “that no veteran be denied employment, reemployment, advancement or discrimination in employment for serving their country.

“Servicemembers who honorably defend their country depend on USERRA to protect their civilian jobs when they are activated and sent to war. This amendment to USERRA will enhance that protection.”

Joe Sharpe, the Legion’s Economic Division director, said that Doggett’s proposed bill addresses an inequity that has long existed in the work force. “We need this protection for our disabled veterans, to make sure they aren’t being treated unfairly by their employers. These men and women have sacrificed enough already for their country. They don’t need to be harassed in the work place for making those sacrifices.”

Doggett’s bill has yet to be introduced in the House of Representatives for consideration.