Understanding Your Military Leave And Employment Rights
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) was signed into law on Oct. 13, 1994. It was designed to strengthen re-employment rights for veterans and to minimize or eliminate the disadvantages a person may face when needing to be absent from civilian employment due to service in the armed forces.
At the employment law firm Bononi Law Group, LLP, our experienced team of attorneys provides aggressive legal help to service members who have been treated unfairly by their employers because of military service in the Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy, Coast Guard or National Guard.
We have successfully represented hundreds of employees and applicants in discrimination claims and have recovered many high-value awards for our clients.
Experienced USERRA Lawyers In Southern California
Virtually every individual in the United States who serves or has served in the armed forces is protected under USERRA. The act applies to virtually every employer in the public and private sectors. This includes federal employers. Military service members are protected from discrimination on the basis of their service.
USERRA is intended to help military service members retain employment and benefits, seek employment free from discrimination and get protection if they are disabled. Individuals who were called up, activated or requested to return to duty may maintain re-employment rights to a civilian position for up to five years. USERRA requires that veterans be returned to the job they would have attained had they not been away from work on military service. This is sometimes referred to as the “escalator principle.”
Service members who were injured while on duty may have up to two years to recover and rehabilitate under USERRA while still maintaining job-protected status for a civilian position. Disabled veterans are also entitled to reasonable accommodations to return to work after being injured in the line of duty.
Returning To Civilian Work After Deployment Or Activation
The date you are required to report to work and request re-employment under USERRA depends on the length of time you were away from work on military service.
- Less than 31 days: After you have traveled home and had an eight-hour rest period, you must request re-employment at the beginning of the next regularly scheduled work period on the first full day after release from service.
- More than 30 days but less than 181 days: You must request re-employment within 14 days of your release from service.
- More than 180 days: You must request re-employment within 90 days of your release from service.
If you miss these deadlines, you do not automatically lose your right to re-employment, but additional conditions may be required before you are reinstated.
You are not required to use any accrued vacation or leave while you are on military service. You have the option, but your employer cannot force you to do so. Your employer must also put you back on the group insurance plan, if you had taken insurance through your work, without requiring a waiting period. If you need additional training to get back up to speed on changes in your job that occurred while you were serving your country, your employer must make reasonable efforts to provide the needed training.
Schedule A Free Consultation Today
To learn more about discrimination on the basis of military service, contact us and schedule a free initial consultation. It is important to speak with an attorney to know your options. Call our office toll free at 213-550-5503.