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Uniformed Service Employment & Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)

Consulting with a Southern California Veterans Lawyer

Members of the military have certain types of employment protections under the Uniformed Service Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, or USERRA. This federal law protects uniformed servicemen and servicewomen from being discriminated against by employers and from losing their rights to reemployment after they are called away from their civilian jobs to fulfill their military duties. If you are veteran and you believe that an employer violated your rights under USERRA, you can turn to our legal team at the California Veteran's Rights Center for assistance. Our Southern California veterans attorney can help you fight for your employment and reemployment rights! Our law firm handles many different types of veterans law issues.

Provisions of USERRA

Under this law, employers cannot refuse to hire, retain, reemploy, promote or offer any employment-related benefit to someone simply because of his or her current military service obligations, previous military service or plans to serve in the military in the future. Furthermore, when a service member goes on a leave of military service, that person's recent employer must reemploy him or her if the individual meets certain requirements. Those requirements are as follows, as noted by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL):

  • The absence from the job must have been due to service in the uniformed services.
  • The employee must have provided the employer with advance notice of the leave of service. An exception occurs if the failure to provide advance notice was due to military necessity, or such notice was for unreasonable or impossible for some other reason.
  • The cumulative period that that the employee has performed military service with that employer has not been more than five years. There are certain exceptions to this rule.
  • The employee did not experience a release from service as the result of a dishonorable discharge or other punitive conditions.
  • The employee acted in a timely fashion when applying for reemployment or when reporting back to his or her civilian job. An exception occurs when doing so would have been unreasonable or impossible.

When employers violate USERRA, they can be sued for lost wages or lost benefits. The federal law does not override state laws that provide greater employment or reemployment rights or benefits to uniformed service members. USERRA does, however, override state laws with lesser rights or benefits, or that have stricter eligibility for service members.

Who Benefits from USERRA?

Individuals who can benefit from USERRA include those who voluntarily or involuntarily serve in the "uniformed services." These services include the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy and Public Health Service commissioned corps. Individuals who perform duty in the reserves in each of these services are also eligible for employment and reemployment protection under USERRA, as are those participating in federal training or service in the Army National Guard and Air National Guard. Just about every employer is required to comply with the law, which provides protection for just about every type of employee—even probationary and part-time employees.

Contact our legal team!

If you serve in the military, it is extremely important that you fully understand your rights under federal law when it comes to your employment. Do not hesitate to contact the California Veteran's Rights Center so we can help you protect your livelihood and financial stability!