Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act
Civilian Job Rights and Benefits for Service Members
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) was created to protect service members' reemployment rights when they return from a period of service with the uniformed services; this includes the rights of those who have been called from the Reserves or the National Guard. Under the USERRA, employers are prohibited from discriminating against their employees based on their military service or obligation. The USERRA is administered by the U.S. Department of Labor's Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS).
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA 38 U.S.C 4301-4335) both clarifies and strengthens the Veterans' Reemployment Rights (VRR) Statute. Under the USERRA, civilians' job rights and benefits for veterans and members of Reserve components are protected. The USERRA made sweeping improvements in protecting service member rights and benefits and it accomplished this by clarifying the law, improving the available enforcement mechanisms, and adding federal government employees to the pool of employees that were already eligible to receive assistance from the Department of Labor in processing claims.
Under the USERRA, an employee's cumulative length for which he or she can be absent from work for military duty and retain reemployment benefits was extended from four years to five years. However, there are important exceptions to the five-year limit, and these include initial enlistments that last longer than five years, period training for the National Guard and Reserve, involuntary active duty extensions and recalls, particularly those during a time of emergency. The USERRA also provides certain protections for disabled veterans, requiring that employers make reasonable efforts to accommodate their disabilities.
St. Louis Employment Law Attorney
The USERRA offers numerous protections for absent employees who have been performing uniformed services; for example, the USERRA provides that returning service members be reemployed in the same job that they would have attained had they not left their jobs for military service. Under the long-standing "escalator" principle, such employees have the right to return with the same seniority, status and pay, as well as other benefits afforded by their seniority. The USERRA also requires that employers take reasonable efforts to train or retrain the returning service member in order to refresh or bring up-to-date their skills to help them adjust to reemployment.
There are numerous rights and protections afforded by the USERRA to service members who are absent from work in order to fulfill their military duties. To learn more about your rights under the USERRA or to enforce these rights, please contact a St. Louis employment lawyer from Riggan Law Firm, LLC.