Returning Veterans and Employment Law
USERRA is the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, and is a federal law that details how civilian employment is to be managed when an employee has a period of voluntary or involuntary uniformed military service. In the US, uniformed service includes Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. The employment and reemployment rights are in effect for periods of active duty, reserve training, military funeral duties, and required administrative work, such as fitness for duty examinations.
The law applies to all US employers, regardless of location of workplace; it covers part-time and full-time employees, as well as probationary employees.
The law basically states that civilian employers are required to give employees their job back when they return from military service. If their job is no longer available, because it has been filled by someone else, a job with a similar level of pay, authority, responsibility, and benefits must be found for the returning service member.
The only time the provisions of this law are waived is in the circumstances of a less than honorable discharge or if the returning service member is incarcerated in a civilian jail.
A servicemember must report back at work within time frames depending on how long he or she was gone. In the event of hospitalization for an injury or illness that occurred during service, a job must be held for at least two years; that time frame may be extended.
If a servicemember sustained a disabling injury during service, and is no longer able to do the civilian job for which he or she was previously capable, employers are required by this law to make reasonable accommodations to provide employment the servicemember is capable of doing.
Hiring, firing, and other job actions cannot be made based on history or potential of military service. This is considered both a violation of USERRA and the EEOC discrimination laws.
Veterans can bring a wealth of experience into the workplace. These laws are designed to protect the rights of citizen-soldiers to resume employment upon their return to civilian life.
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