NOTE: The intent of this article is to provide general information only. It reflects the law at the time of publication. To find out how the law applies to your situation, or how to provide notice properly, contact your legal assistance office or Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, commonly known as USERRA, is a federal law that provides service members and former service members with job protections. The law provides anti-discrimination and anti-retaliation protection, and rights and benefits related to mobilizing and deploying.
One of the basic protections is reemployment in a position with the same pay, seniority and benefits as the job you left when you deployed. However, the law has some conditions under which you might not be entitled to your civilian job after deployment.
Here's a summary of the law's protections:
- USERRA provides you with protections related to the civilian job you held before being called up for active duty.
- The law encourages non-career military service by minimizing civilian employment problems arising from your military commitment.
- The law specifies that employers - including government or private companies, regardless of size - can't deny you employment, promotion or any benefit of employment because you served in the military.
Potential barriers to reemployment
Your employer isn't required to reemploy you under these conditions:
- The employer's circumstances have changed so much that reemployment is impossible or unreasonable.
- Helping you become qualified for reemployment would be an undue hardship on the employer.
- The position you held before your military service was for a brief, non-recurrent period, with no reasonable expectation that your employment would continue indefinitely.
The employer is responsible for proving that at least one of these conditions applies.
Your employer can request documentation to verify the length and character of your service. Documentation may include:
If you can't or don't provide satisfactory documentation because it isn't readily available or doesn't exist, your employer must still promptly reemploy you.
Contact a USERRA advisor if you have any questions or concerns about your post-deployment job situation.