Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) - Explained
Protecting the Military for Employment Discrimination
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What is the Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act?
The Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) protects the rights of service members in the military reserves or state national guards from discrimination based upon their military service obligations. Specifically, the law protects the rights of individuals who voluntarily or involuntarily leave their employment to undertake military service or certain types of service in the National Defense Medical System.
USERRA prohibits public and private employers from denying initial employment, reemployment, retention in employment, promotion, or any benefit of employment based on current, past, or present obligations flowing from military service."
Next Article: Sexual Orientation Discrimination Back to: EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION
Who Qualifies for Protection Under USERRA?
The general requirements for protection under USERRA are as follows:
- the individual must hold a job outside of the Armed Forces or NDMS (a civilian job);
- the employee volunteers or is called to participate in mobilization (such as training, activation, or deployment), on a temporary basis, with the Armed Forces of National Defense Medical Service;
- the employee must inform her employer that she is leaving the position pursuant to the mobilization;
- the period of service must be under honorable conditions; and
- the individual must report back to the civilian employer in a timely manner regarding the mobilization and, if necessary, submit a timely application for reemployment.
What are the Other USERRA Protections?
The USERRA not only establishes re-employment rights but also protects individuals from retaliation (such as firing, demotion, etc.) for exercising their rights under USERRA. This includes protections for those reporting (or testifying against) an employer for violating USERRA.
Covered employees can also elect to continue their employer-based health insurance for up to 24 months of the mobilization. If an employee does not continue her health coverage or coverage is lost, the employee may apply to the employer health insurance program without waiting periods or exclusions and request to be reinstated upon return from deployment. As with many other employment laws, the DOL requires that certain employers display notices of USERRA rights for employees. Individuals discriminated against may bring a private action against the employer or file a complaint with the US Secretary of labor.
Why do you think the Government established USERRA? Can you think of any arguments against enforcing these provisions? Should there be any exceptions to these rules? Why or why not?
Thomas is a member of the Georgia National Guard. His unit has been called to active duty and will be mobilized to serve as the garrison support unit for Fort Sill, Oklahoma. This will require Thomas to leave his employment for 12 consecutive months. What are Thomas's rights in this situation?
- Employment Discrimination (Intro)
- What is Employment Discrimination?
- Glass Ceiling
- What are the major Employment Discrimination laws?
- Civil Rights Act of 1866 (1981 Actions)
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- The Rehabilitation Act
- Job Accommodation Network
- Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA)
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
- Affordable Care Act (ACA)
- Uniform Service Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)
- Sexual Orientation and Identification
- What is Affirmative Action?
- What is employment discrimination protection under state law?
- Overview of Title VII (Civil Rights Act of 1964)
- Civil Rights Act of 1964
- What is employment discrimination under Title VII?
- How are Title VII protections enforced?
- Wrongful Termination Claim
- Disparate Treatment
- Disparate Impact
- What is race discrimination under Title VII?
- What is national origin discrimination under Title VII?
- What is religious discrimination Under Title VII?
- What is sex discrimination under Title VII?
- What is sexual harassment or Hostile work environment under Title VII?
- Quid Pro Quo
- What is pregnancy discrimination under Title VII?
- Equal Pay Act of 1963