Veterans Re-employment Rights Synopsis
By Kathleen Pohlid Founder & Managing Member, Pohlid, PLLC | March 31, 2013
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act 1994 (USERRA) was enacted to provide service members with reinstatement rights in their civilian jobs and to protect them against discrimination because of their uniformed service. The goal of USERRA is to ensure that service members do not suffer a loss or incur discrimination in their civilian jobs because of their service. USERRA also seeks to put the employee back into the place they would have been in their civilian job "but for" the interruption due to their service. Employers must be aware of their obligations and employee rights under USERRA.
USERRA provides employment, reemployment and anti-discrimination rights to employees who serve in the uniformed services. It also imposes certain requirements upon employers. USERRA applicability is based upon whether the individual has served or sought to serve in the uniformed services or exercised a right under USERRA, whether the employer is a "covered employer", whether the employee has satisfied their requirements to invoke USERRA protections, and whether an affirmative defense applies.
USERRA protections and rights apply to "service in the uniformed services," which is defined to include reservists serving in the military, active duty military, members of the National Guard under Federal authority, specified service by members of the National Disaster Medical System, and service in the commissioned corps of the Public Health Service. It also applies in times of peace and war and irrespective of whether the individual is serving voluntary or involuntary.
All public (to include states and their political subdivisions) and private employers, regardless of size, are covered by USERRA. Additionally, USERRA coverage also applies to foreign employers doing business within the United States (to include its territories and possessions). U. S. companies operating in a foreign country are also required to comply with USERRA, unless doing so would violate the law of that foreign country.