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What are Your Employment Rights as a Service Member?

What are Your Employment Rights as a Service Member?
As a member of the United States military, you have earned certain employment rights and job protections not afforded to non-military members. These rights and protections are covered under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). The laws within this act were designed to ensure individuals that are called to service do not lose their jobs while serving; and the law prevents discrimination based on past and present military service of applicants and employees.

How Does the USERRA Protect Against Discrimination?
You are protected against discrimination in the workplace if you are a current military service member or a military veteran, or if you have applied for membership in the military. You cannot be denied employment, reemployment, retention in employment, promotion, or any benefits provided by the employer based on your relationship with the military.

What are Reemployment Rights?
Reemployment rights apply to employees that are called to service while employed in a civilian capacity. Reemployment rights require that your employer hold your job or re-hire you upon return from your military service duties. All benefits and perks must also be reinstated. In order to qualify for reemployment rights, you must:

• Give your employer advanced written or verbal notice that you are a service member;
• Return to work or re-apply in a timely manner once your service is complete;
• Have five years or less cumulative military service;
• Have not been given a disqualifying or dishonorable discharge from service.

How Does the USERRA Assist in Military Members’ Health Insurance Needs?
Employees leaving their jobs to perform military service may choose to continue existing employer-based health coverage for up to two years. This covers both individual and dependent coverage

If you choose to forgo this coverage during your time away, you have a right to reinstate your coverage upon return without any waiting periods or exclusions, unless you have experienced a military service related illness or injury. For instance, if you suffer an injury during service, it will be covered by veteran’s benefits and your employer is not required legally to cover medical care for the injury.

Military members who believe they are the victim of discrimination can file a claim with the US Department of Labor, Veterans Employment Training Services, or bring a civil action against the employer by contacting an attorney. If you are a service member or veteran and you would like to speak to someone about the way in which you were treated by an employer, contact Borrelli & Associates, P.L.L.C. to schedule a consultation.

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