Federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)
Overview of Law
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) provides certain rights to employees who serve in the military. USERRA applies to all employers in the United States, regardless of size.
Discrimination and Retaliation
USERRA protects employees and applicants from discrimination and retaliation because of their military service, including past and future service. Employers may not discriminate in terms of hiring, rehiring, discharging, promoting, or providing any benefit of employment.
In addition, employers may not retaliate against employees for participating in a USERRA proceeding or exercising their rights under USERRA, even if they are not a service member.
Employees may continue their existing health insurance with their employer for up to 24 months while in the military. Even if they don’t continue coverage during their military service, they are generally required to be reinstated to the employer’s group plan when they are reemployed without waiting periods or exclusions, except for service-connected injuries.
After taking military leave, servicemembers must be reemployed in a position that reflects with reasonable certainty the pay, benefits, seniority, and other job perquisites that they would have had if they had not taken military leave.
Employers may not discharge an employee without cause after they are reemployed. Employees who served more than 180 days may not be discharged without cause for one year. Employees who served 30–180 days may not be discharged without cause for 180 days.
To be eligible for reemployment, the employee must meet the following criteria:
- Absence was due to service in the uniformed services
- Combined service was for five years or less, with certain exceptions
- Advance notice was provided before the leave unless it was impossible or unreasonable
- Employees were not dishonorably discharged or under other-than-honorable conditions
- The employee requested reinstatement in a timely fashion unless it was impossible or unreasonable
Whether the employee’s request for reinstatement is considered timely depends on their length of service and whether they were hospitalized for an injury.
Employers are required to inform employees of their rights under USERRA. The US Department of Labor provides a poster for free here.
Got a labor law question?
Our team helps employers with labor law compliance every day. Complete the form below to ask a question or request some help.
The materials and information available at this website and included in this blog are for informational purposes only, are not intended for the purpose of providing legal advice, and may not be relied upon as legal advice. The employees of Complete Payroll are not