Veterans and current members of the United States Armed Services are entitled to various protections of their employment rights under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act. The protections are designed to ensure employment stability for service members, which also helps facilitate the staffing of the various branches of the military.
The three core components of the USERRA protections are (1) the right to reemployment; (2) the right to be free from discrimination and retaliation; and (3) the right to retain health care coverage.
Active and reserve members of the uniformed services, as well as veterans, are covered by the Act. The most basic right, as the name implies, is to be reemployed with the member’s employer after completing military service. Provided that the service member gives advance notice to her employer that she is leaving employment to perform military service, she is entitled to be reemployed after release. The member must have been discharged from her military service under honorable conditions and must report for work or apply for reemployment in a timely manner. The service member is entitled to reemployment in the same position she held or would have attained had she never left for military service. This includes all benefits that would have been accorded such as seniority, pay, vacation time, and so on.
Veterans and service members are also entitled under the Act to be free from discrimination or retaliation by employers. An employer may not refuse initial employment to a member or former member based on past or future military service or obligation. For example, a reserve member who applies for employment cannot be denied solely on the basis that the member would have to fulfill periodic military service requirements. Currently employed members may not be denied any employment benefits that are afforded to non-service member employees. Such an act could be considered either discrimination, retaliation or a wrongful termination.
A specific employment benefit singled out for protection under the Act is health insurance. A member is entitled under the Act to retain health insurance coverage for up to 24 months while serving in the military. If the member chooses not to retain the coverage, she is still entitled to be reinstated to the plan under the same terms as if she had retained the coverage. If the military absence is 30 days or less, the employer must pay its share of the cost. If beyond 30 days, the service member is responsible for the entire cost of the coverage.
Sacramento, CA 95821