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Discrimination & Harassment

Military Discrimination

Members of the military have important rights that prevent employers from taking adverse action against them for serving their country.

If you believe you may have experienced discrimination due to your service in the military, contact our employment lawyers for help.

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Military Discrimination Details

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) is a federal law that protects members of the armed services from employment discrimination. The USERRA prohibits employers from taking adverse action—which includes denial of initial employment, re-employment, promotions, or other benefits—against members of the uniformed services because of their military service.

The USERRA is meant to ensure that, upon their return from service, employees will be free from discrimination in their place of employment, and that they will be able to retain their prior employment and benefits. Generally, in order to qualify for re-employment with a prior employer, the cumulative length of the current and previous absences from the position with that employer must not exceed five years (subject to various exceptions, including service during emergencies, national security operations, and war). Once the uniformed services member returns home, he or she must seek reemployment within a specific period of time, which varies based on the length of the military service. Disabled veterans have up to two years from the completion of their service to return to their former jobs, and employers must make reasonable efforts to assist them with their job duties if necessary.

Upon re-employment, the employer can place the employee in a new position, so long as the new position is comparable to the position that the employee would have held if he or she was continuously employed with the employer.

The USERRA also protects service members’ rights to receive benefits while deployed. Upon deployment, service members may choose to continue their employer-sponsored health insurance for up to 24 months. However, service members must notify their employers in advance if they are going to leave for duty, unless giving notice is not possible or reasonable under the circumstances.

The USERRA protects members of the uniformed services, which includes the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Army National Guard, Air National Guard, commissioned corps of the Public Health Service, and other persons designated by the President during times of war or national emergency. It covers both voluntary and involuntary service members. The USERRA also covers those persons in uniformed service training programs and the periods of time during which medical or technical exams are being administered. You do not have to be actively deployed for military duty to be covered under the USERRA.

Our employment lawyers understand the workplace rights our service people have, and are here to help when those rights may be violated.

Examples of Potential Military Status Discrimination

  • You are not hired, or are denied a promotion, demoted, or fired because of your military service.
  • Your boss treats your co-workers, who have not served in the military, better than he or she treats you, including providing more promotions, better benefits, or additional job opportunities.
  • You have returned from active military duty, and your employer refuses to give your job back, or your employer rehires you for a different job with less pay, benefits, or seniority.
  • You were injured or disabled during your military service and your employer refuses to rehire you, or refuses to let you return to your former job duties, even though you can perform them with a little bit of help.
  • Your boss or co-workers make fun of you or treat you badly because you are an active or retired member of the military.

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