What is USERRA?

Those who choose to serve in our Armed Forces could find themselves called into the line of duty at nearly any time, should something catastrophic happen. Often these service members have lives and careers that they’ve been working to expand and grow in order to live a fulfilling life, and they must put these things on hold to serve their country. However, what happens when they come back? Will they be able to resume working in their previous position? Thankfully, service members are protected through the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, or USERRA.

USERRA Explained

The concept of USERRA has existed as far back as the Civil War, but the act itself was not passed until 1994. The Department of Labor states that the intended goal of the legislation is to protect both active and reserve military members who are called into duty as part of an ongoing United States military campaign by ensuring that they can return to their same position or a similar position once they have finished their service and returned home.

All employers are required by law to maintain compliance with USERRA, including all government entities and all private and publicly-owned businesses, even those located in foreign countries. Compliance essentially states that an employer will allow a worker to return to their old position or a similar position with the same pay, status, rights, and benefits. If an employee can’t return to the same position, employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations, including re-training or further education in order to allow them to continue.

Getting Your Old Job Back

So you’ve returned from military deployment and you’d like to get your old job back. In order to do so, you’ll have to re-apply for it. USERRA dictates four different time limits for military members applying for re-employment, based mostly on the term of your deployment. If you were in service for less than 31 days, you must apply as soon as possible. If you’ve been away between one and six months, you’ll have 14 days to reapply and those deployed longer than six months have up to 90 days to re-apply. Finally, those who were injured or became ill while abroad will have up to two years to re-apply for their job.

If you’re having trouble getting your old job back after returning home from military service duty, contact an Atlanta employment lawyer from Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP and let our staff help you put the law on your side!

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