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Leave for Military Personnel & Caregivers Lawyers in Missouri

Helping You Take a Protected Leave of Absence

If you are in the military or are a caregiver for someone in the military, you have protected rights under the law to take an extended leave of absence. Whether you are called into active duty or are caring for someone in the military, your employer cannot deny you a leave of absence if you are qualified for one. Unfortunately, many employers overstep their boundaries and deny requests from their employees because they do not understand an employee’s rights. An experienced employment law attorney can help you take legal action against your employer to get the justice you deserve.

Our team at Riggan Law Firm, LLC, has years of experience assisting clients in leave of absence cases. From helping you understand your rights to filing a lawsuit on your behalf, we are committed to protecting you from mistreatment in the workplace. If you need assistance with an employment law case, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Contact our team today by calling 314-528-9661 for more information.

What is the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-Employment Act?

The Uniformed Services Employment and Re-Employment Act (USERRA) was passed in 1994 to protect military service members in the workforce. The act states that employers cannot fire or demote military members because they are called to service or because of their service. This act is in effect during peacetime and wartime, which is essential for military members who must still fulfill monthly commitments during times of peace.

Under USERRA, military members also have the right to be re-employed by their civilian jobs if they must leave to perform uniformed service. Employers must receive written or verbal notice of the service, and employees must have five years or less of cumulative service in the uniformed services while with that employer. Employers cannot harass or discriminate against military members as a form of retaliation once they return to work.

What Are Your Re-Employment Protections?

Service members are protected by law and must be re-employed by their previous employers once they return to work. This protection can last five years or longer, depending on the servicemember’s duties and what their civilian job is. As soon as an employer receives notice of an employee’s military leave, they must provide reasonable accommodations. Similarly, when an employer is notified of a military member’s return to work, they must provide them with re-employment.

Military members must provide their employer with documentation of their return within a specific time period. These time periods include the following:

  • Leave of 30 days or less: report by the beginning of the next regularly scheduled shift
  • Leave of 31 to 180 days: apply for re-employment within 14 days after the service is completed
  • Leave of 180+ days: apply for re-employment within 90 days after the service is completed

If going back to work is impossible, or if the servicemember now has a disability that makes them unable to work, these rules do not apply. Similarly, any misconduct in the military, including dishonorable discharge, may void these protections. Being court-martialed, going through a mast process, or going absent without leave (AWOL) may also void these rights under USERRA.

What Are Employee Rights Under USERRA?

If your military service lasted less than 90 days, you can return to the same position you had previously, as long as you are still qualified for and able to perform the job role. If your military service was longer than 90 days, you can return to the same position or a new position of similar status, seniority, and pay.

Employees cannot be terminated for six months after their return if the service leave is between 31 and 180 days. If the service is over 180 days, an employee cannot be terminated for one year.

There are certain situations in which an employer is exempt from USERRA’s obligations, including the following:

  • Re-employment would cause undue hardship on the employer
  • Changes in circumstances make reemployment impossible or unreasonable
  • The service member was only employed for a brief period of time

Are Caregivers Entitled to Leave?

Caregivers for military personnel are sometimes eligible for military caregiver leave. Employers must provide leave to eligible employees to care for active service members who have been seriously injured or developed a severe illness in the line of duty.

To qualify for caregiver leave, the service member must be:

  • Undergoing therapy
  • Receiving medical treatment
  • In recovery
  • In outpatient status
  • On the temporary disability retired list

Employers are not required to give military caregiver leave if the service member is on the permanent disability retired list. If you would like to seek a leave of absence to care for a family member in the military, contact our team today. The sooner you seek legal counsel, the sooner we can inform you of your rights and determine if you qualify for this leave. If your employer has already denied your request, our team will assist you in taking legal action to get the outcome you deserve.

Can an Employment Law Lawyer Help Me?

Military personnel and their caregivers are protected by law for leaves of absence and re-employment. If your employer refuses to accept your request or you have been denied re-employment at your previous workplace, you may be able to take legal action. Our attorneys at Riggan Law Firm, LLC can assist you by advising you of your rights and helping you file a lawsuit to get the justice you deserve if those rights have been violated. For more information and to learn more about our team, contact us today by calling 314-528-9661.