Protecting U.S. Service Members’ Private Employment Rights
You have committed part of your life to serve your country. You deserve commendations, not mistreatment. This is especially true in terms of employment. If you find that your private employer is failing to provide you with your rights under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, take action. Turn to Bell Law Group, PLLC, for dedicated representation geared toward helping you retain gainful private employment.
Eligibility for USERRA Protection
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) offers U.S. military veterans and current officers various employment protections, including the right to be free from discrimination based on armed service and the right to reemployment upon completion of military leave.
For you to gain access to USERRA’s protections, you must meet certain criteria. For instance, if you are seeking reemployment, you must have:
- Held a civilian job before being called to active duty
- Given advanced notice to your employer that you had been called to serve
- Been on military leave for no more than 5 years
- Received at least general discharge upon leaving the service
- Promptly sought reemployment with your employer
Getting the Healthcare Coverage You and Your Family Need
One of the protections USERRA specifically calls out is the service member’s ability to continue healthcare coverage while on leave. This includes the employer’s responsibility for maintaining coverage for all family members of that employee.
Under USERRA, you can opt to extend coverage under your employer’s group health plan for up to 24 months. If your leave is longer than 30 days, your employer may require you to pay up to 102 percent of your plan’s premium to retain that coverage, however.
Disabled During Service? Your Employer Must Accommodate You.
USERRA provides that any armed forces member disabled during service must receive reasonable accommodations by his or her employer upon reentering the workforce. So if your employer is unable to place you in the position you would have been in but for your military leave due to your disability, that employer must take steps to accommodate your disability. Such reasonable accommodations vary based on the nature of your disability and the specific requirements of your job, and may include options such as job retraining.
If you are unable to perform in the position you would have held if you had not left for active service, your employer must make reasonable accommodations to put you in a different position that is equal in seniority, status and pay.
Should you have reason to suspect that your employer has discriminated against you based on your service or your disability, you can pursue certain remedies that USERRA offers.
Remedies for an Employer’s Failure to Follow USERRA
If your private employer failed to provide you with the protections and rights as described in USERRA, you can seek one or several remedies, including:
- Job reinstatement
- Employee’s attorney fees
- Corrected or updated personnel files
- Back pay for lost wages
- Access to lost benefits, including healthcare and pensions
- Adjustments to salary and seniority
Private employers have specially imposed consequences for willful violations of USERRA provisions. For instance, if an employer purposely violates USERRA, a judge can require that he or she pay double the amount of lost wages and benefits.
Call Bell Law Group to Enforce Your USERRA Rights
Do not hesitate to pick up the phone and call our law offices if you believe your private employer has violated your USERRA rights. You may reach us at 855-333-2889 or via our online contact form. We will discuss your concerns in a free consultation and provide you with our recommendations on how to move forward.