Military service honors this country, preserves our liberty, and deserves respect. In fact, when a service member is deployed or completes their service, she or he should return with the comfort of knowing that they have their civilian job to come back to. Simply put, employers should not be allowed to benefit from a service member's hard work and sacrifice, only to shaft them when they return to civilian work. Not only is this a matter of right and wrong, it is the law.
In 1994, Congress passed into law the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). Under this law, employers and prospective employers are prohibited from holding a person's past, present, or future military service against them. This applies to decisions regarding hiring, firing, retention following service, promotions, pay-raises, and benefits.
Significantly, if a service member is called upon to fulfill his or her military duty, their employer must retain the employee and allow that employee to return when their service is complete. To qualify for these protections, however, the following requirements must be met:
· The service member must be serving in the "uniformed services" during the period of absence. This includes the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and Public Health Service corps.;
· The service member must not have been dishonorably discharged;
· The service member must timely reapply or report to their civilian employer;
· The service member must provide timely notice of their impending military service; and
· The service member has not spent more than five years total in military service while employed by the civilian employer.
This law is an important protection as it provides that a returning uniformed service member has the right to return to their civilian job as if they had been continuously employed during the course of their service. This entitles them to the pay, promotions, and benefits that go along with this assumed continued employment.
If you have been deprived a rightful promotion, salary increase, or benefits while you completed your service, you are entitled to relief. Not only do you have the right to recover wages and benefits, but you may be entitled to considerable damages.
Moss Bollinger Law Firm
If you are a military veteran, we thank you for your service. If you believe that you have been the victim of unlawful employment action because of your military status, call Moss Bollinger. Employers that mistreat or take advantage of veterans outrage us. There are numerous laws that preserve the rights of our service members. Let us help you protect your rights. We work on a contingency basis and only get paid if you do. Call Moss Bollinger at 800-249-1175, or contact us online.