Your Rights Under USERRA
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) is a Federal law that establishes rights and responsibilities for uniformed service members and their civilian employers. This act protects the employment, benefits, and rights of employees in the uniformed services.
Uniformed Service members have the right to be reemployed at their civilian job should they leave that job to perform service in the uniformed service and:
- Has provided their employer advance written or verbal notice of their service
- Has five years or less of cumulative service in the uniformed services while with that particular employer
- Has returned to work or applied for reemployment in a timely manner after the conclusion of service
- Has not been separated from service with a disqualifying discharge other than honorable conditions. If the individual is eligible to be reemployed, the employer must restore the employee back to their job and benefits they would have attained if they had not been absent due to military service or, in some cases, a comparable job.
Protections Against Discrimination and Retaliation
- are a past or present member of the uniformed service
- applied for membership in the uniformed service
- are obligated to serve in the uniformed service then an employer may not deny you:
- initial employment;
- retention in employment;
- promotion; or
- any benefit of employment because of this status. In addition, an employer may not retaliate against anyone assisting in the enforcement of USERRA rights, including testifying or making a statement in connection with a proceeding under USERRA, even if that person has no service connection.
Health Insurance Protection
If a service member leaves their job to perform military service, they have the right to elect to continue their existing employer-based health plan coverage for both themself and their dependents for up to 24 months while in the military.
- Even if they don’t elect to continue coverage during your military service, they have the right to be reinstated in the employer’s health plan when they are reemployed. This generally goes without any waiting periods or exclusions (e.g., pre-existing condition exclusions) except for service-connected illnesses or injuries.
The U.S. Department of Labor, Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS) is authorized to investigate and resolve complaints of USERRA violations.