USERRA – Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (“USERRA”), 38 U.S.C. §§ 4301-4335, was signed into law on October 13, 1994. USERRA is a federal statute that protects military service members’ and veterans’ civilian employment rights. Specifically, USERRA applies to the “uniformed services” which includes the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Public Health Service commissioned corps, as well as the reserve components of each of these services. Federal training or service in the Army National Guard and Air National Guard also gives rise to rights under USERRA. Uniformed service includes active duty, active duty for training, inactive duty training, initial active duty training, and funeral honors duty performed by National Guard and reserve members, as well as the period of time for which a person is absent from his or her employment for the purpose of an examination to determine fitness to perform any such duty.
USERRA prohibits employment discrimination against a person on the basis of past military service, current military obligations, or intent to serve. An employer must not deny initial employment, reemployment, retention in employment, promotion, or any benefit of employment to a person on the basis of a past, present, or future service obligation. USERRA requires employers to put individuals back to work in their civilian jobs after military service. USERRA applies to all employers in the United States. This includes federal, state, local, and private employers, and also includes foreign companies that operate within the United States and its territories.
USERRA ensures that service members:
- Are not disadvantaged in their civilian careers because of their military service;
- Are promptly re-employed in their civilian jobs upon return from duty;
- Are not discriminated against by employers because of past, present, or future military service.
To be protected under USERRA, a service member must have a civilian job, must provide timely notification to the employer of military duty, and must report back to work for reemployment in a timely manner. USERRA requires employers to reemploy an eligible returning service member into the position and with the benefits that the service member would have had, if not for his or her military service. That is, a returning service member is entitled to the seniority, rights, and benefits that he or she would have attained had the service member remained continuously employed. Employers are required to provide to persons covered by USERRA a notice of the rights, benefits, and obligations of the employees and employers under USERRA. To do this, employers may post the notice entitled “Your Rights Under USERRA” where employer notices are customarily placed, mail it, or by distributing it via electronic mail.
If you believe that your rights under USERRA have been violated, contact the Law Firm of Morgan Rooks, P.C. for a free consultation. We will explain your rights under the law. With our guidance, you can take the necessary steps to protect yourself, your career, and hold your employer accountable.