USERRA and Your Rights
Those who serve are our nation’s heroes. While away protecting our country, our country must protect their employment rights—and it does!
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, USERRA, covers current and former members of all military branches, the Coast Guard, the Public Health Service and the National Disaster Medical System.
You would think that employers would honor and respect their employees by holding their job and benefits while they are away protecting us. Most do, but unfortunately, some do not. That’s where USSERA comes in.
Under USERRA, you are entitled to be reemployed in the same—or higher—position with the same seniority and entitlements as if you had never been on duty, so long as a few requirements are met on your end.
- You must provide your employer with notice of your service before leaving. In writing is best to prove you did.
- You must have been honorably discharged. If your discharge is less than honorable you will be denied USERRA protections.
- You must have served five years or less in the uniformed services with your current employer.
- You must return to work within a reasonable time after returning home.
When you leave to serve our country, your employer is obligated to continue its health insurance plan for you and your family. It may not discontinue the coverage you were on before your service, and it must continue coverage for up to 24 months. In addition, if you choose to discontinue your insurance while you are in the service, you have the right to have it reinstated immediately when you come back—without any waiting period.
Free from Discrimination
If you are called to active duty, National Guard training, or enlist, [ABM, WRL—please verify enlistment] or if you have applied for membership in the military for any ranking position, [ABM, WRL—please verify application for ranking position. Is it any different than enlistment?] your current employer must give you back your previous job or an equal or better one—with seniority and benefit rights as if you had never left.
Some employers may be hesitant to hire an applicant who is subject to being called up. But If you apply for a new job when you get back, or even apply for a job before you go on active duty, a prospective employer may not discriminate against you because of your military status. Such discrimination is a violation of your USERRA rights and you can seek relief from a federal court.
Unfortunately, some employers will knowingly violate the law and others will deny your rights just because they don’t understand the law. We at Maduff Law respect you and honor your service. If an employer ignores your USERRA rights, the lawyers at Maduff Law stand ready to help you just as we have helped many of your comrades in the past. If you think your rights have been violated, please contact us.