On Thursday, March 3, 2005, the United States Department of Labor, Veterans' Employment and Training Service ("VETS"), removed from its website a poster designed to satisfy new notice requirements under the federal statute dealing with military leave rights, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act ("USERRA"). VETS has given no reason why the poster was removed, but has stated that a revised poster will be ready for downloading by March 10, 2005.
Recent amendments to USERRA require that employers notify employees of their military leave rights. The amendments do not mandate the form of notice to be given, so employers are not required to use the VETS poster (or any other poster). Employers may rely on properly drafted military leave policies or other notice avenues (such as a written notice drafted by the employer) to meet the notice requirement. Obviously use of a VETS prescribed poster is an efficient way in which to meet the notice requirement. Since the revised poster has not yet been released, comments cannot be made regarding its compliance with USERRA's notice provisions.
Employers need not purchase a poster from a source for a fee. A number of internet sites currently offer posters that they claim will meet the notice requirement. Many of these sites simply provide the prior VETS poster (which was free). Employers should first look to the VETS website for the poster that is to be released on March 10, 2005. The VETS website can be found at www.dol.gov/vets.