The Law and Military Leave
The legal profession is very complicated subject that requires years of preparation to understand fully. Military members are often at a disadvantage in legal situations because of their commitment to our nation that often require them to leave their civilian jobs behind and fulfill their military obligations, usually for months at a time. The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) is a national level law that ensures you are protected against discrimination by your employer if you are a member of the military and your civilian career is protected upon your return.
Employers are required to grant you military leave, and then to guarantee your reemployment upon your return. USERRA also ensures that you are reemployed at a level commensurate with the level of employment when you departed or military service. USERRA also states that military members are not to be discriminated against when they return from military service, and prevents your employer from firing you without cause within one year of employment. Veterans that are injured because of their military service are protected from discrimination in the workplace, and it ensures your employer accommodates your disability within reason. Essentially, this law protects you as a service member and ensures you are treated fairly in the civilian world upon your return.
Military Discrimination is a Real Problem
Without knowing it, many of us face discrimination in the workplace on a daily basis, but many of us don’t do anything about it. Obvious examples of workplace discrimination include being denied a promotion, demoted, fired because you served in the military. More subtle forms of discrimination come in the form of your employer rehiring you, but at lesser pay, seniority, or the benefits you had before you left for military duty. If coworkers ridicule you, they are not only rude, but they are breaking the law. Contacting an attorney is important if you believe that you have experienced discrimination because of your service in the military.
Fighting Against Military Discrimination
Aside from federal law, state laws also govern discrimination due to military service. Labor and employment law is dense and complicated, and so you should always contact an attorney if you feel that your rights have been violated.
USERRA also covers any training you must have as part of your military duties as a Reservist or National Guard. Although, certain conditions must be met if you are to be protected under USERRA such as ensuring your employer has advanced notice of your deployment, your total leave cannot exceed five years, and you must resume employment within the time frame determined by your service. Your civilian life deserves to be protected from any form of discrimination, especially due to your service to the nation. Discrimination should never be tolerated and those that discriminate against others, and especially against service members, should be held accountable.
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