I need to miss work due to military or other service duties. Is my civilian job safe?
Yes. The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) protects the jobs of people who leave their jobs for military service. USERRA also stops employers from discriminating against them.
Am I covered?
The following people are protected under USERRA:
- Members of the active and reserve components of the armed services, including people in:
- active duty,
- active duty for training,
- initial active duty for training,
- inactive duty training, and
- full-time National Guard duty.
- People applying for membership in the uniformed services
You are not covered if you leave uniformed service with a dishonorable or bad conduct discharge.
What are my rights?
You have the right to be re-employed. This means getting your job back. The following things have to be true for you to have this right:
- you gave your employer advance notice of your service;
- you were gone for five years or less; and
- you applied for re-employment quickly after your service.
Right to be free from discrimination and retaliation
An employer may not deny you any of the following because of your service:
- Hiring you,
- Giving you your job back,
- Letting you keep your job,
- Giving you a promotion, or
- Giving you any benefit of employment.
Health insurance coverage
If you and your dependents have coverage under your employer’s health plan, and you leave your job for military service, you have the right to keep your coverage for up to 24 months.
Even if you don't keep your coverage during your service, you have the right to have it restarted when you get back.
What if my rights are violated?
If you believe your employer has violated your rights under USERRA, you can choose one of two different processes:
File with the Department of Labor
You may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor, Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS).
For assistance in filing a complaint, or for any other information on USERRA, contact VETS at 1-866-4-USA-
Go to court
If you file a complaint with VETS and they are unable to resolve it, you can ask that your case be referred to the Department of Justice or the Office of Special Counsel, for representation.
You may also bypass the VETS process and hire an attorney to bring a lawsuit against an employer for violations of USERRA.
Updated: February 2017