Atlanta Military Servicemembers’ and Veterans’ Rights Attorneys
Strong military and veterans advocacy for throughout Georgia
Our veterans deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. Respect and dignity begin with having a good-paying job – not just as a reward for their service, but because our returning veterans have shown they have the skills and discipline to be great workers. Finding and keeping steady employment can be a challenge for veterans and for members of the Reserves and the National Guard, who may be called for a tour of duty at any moment.
At Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP, we respect and honor our military servicemembers. We have an in-depth knowledge of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act and can help assert the employment rights of Georgia servicemembers and veterans. Let us protect your rights the way you protect all of ours. Call our employment attorneys in Atlanta to get started.
This was my first time having to seek legal counsel on an employment issue so I was a bit nervous about the process. I was referred to Ed Buckley by a friend I respect and trust, and one that has over 20 years of experience in law. Mr. Buckley made the process much less intimidating for me. Many thanks to Mr. Buckley and team for helping me. I'd definitely hire them again. – Google review
How can we help?
- What is the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act?
- What protections does USERRA provide?
- How do your Atlanta USERRA attorneys advocate for service members?
- What employment resources can you recommend for uniformed service members in Atlanta?
- Do you have a USERRA attorney near me?
What is the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act?
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) was enacted to help members of our military obtain new jobs and keep their current jobs. USERRA provides that most military personnel must be returned to their jobs when they return from service. USERRA also prohibits discrimination based on an employee's military service. USERRA protects members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, the National Disaster Medical System, the Public Health Service commissioned corps, and reserves.
Both private and public employers (including the State of Georgia and local governments) must comply with USERRA. The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) and the US Department of Labor (DOL) both investigate and enforce USERRA claims.
What protections does USERRA provide?
The core protections of USERRA are to ensure that members of the armed forces are:
- Not disadvantaged in their civilian careers because of their military service;
- Promptly re-employed in their civilian jobs upon return from duty; and
- Not discriminated against by employers because of past, present, or future military service.
As such, the USERRA serves folks who served their country in the following ways:
- Seeking civilian employment. Applicants cannot be discriminated against due to their past, current, or future uniformed service. For example, an employer cannot deny a military service member a job because he/she may have military duties on the day the job is supposed to start or because he/she may need to perform extended periods of service in the National Guard or Reserves. Employers can turn down an employee for non-military reasons, such as not having the skills to do the job.
- Actively working in civilian employment. Once a service member is employed, an employer cannot fire, deny a promotion, discipline or deny benefits based on the member’s military status. Employers also cannot retaliate against a service member who asserts their USERRA rights or for helping another service member assert their rights. For example, an employer cannot deny you a company-wide raise or bonus because you were on military duty during any of the relevant times.
- Preparing for military deployment. Service members do need to inform their employer in writing or verbally if their service will conflict with their job.
- Away on military deployment. USERRA helps ensure that service members who are away on duty are treated the same as if they were on the job. The service member/employee must “be given the same benefits that are generally provided to a non-military employee who goes on a furlough or leave of absence.” Away on duty includes active duty, training for active duty, active duty for special work, weekend or weekday drills, funeral honors, and fitness for duty or other necessary examinations
- Returning from military deployment. Service members need to request reemployment or report to work in a timely manner. The time you need to contact your employer depends on how long you were away. There are different time limits based on being away for 1-30 days, 31-180 days, and more than 180 days. Additional time is allowed if you are recovering from a military service injury. Even if you do not meet the time requirements for requesting reemployment, you should still be entitled to prompt employment but may be subject to employer discipline in the same ways as other employees who don’t show up to work when they should. Generally, employees who are away for up to five years can still seek reemployment with the same employer.
Our Atlanta military discrimination attorneys will explain if any exceptions apply, such as an unfavorable discharge, when the original job was temporary, if the employer’s circumstances make reemployment unreasonable or impossible, or if the employer cannot accommodate the employee’s military injury.
Reemployment issues include the right to be given the same job the servicemember had before their service duty began – as if he/she had stayed continuously employed. If an employer thinks that a servicemember is not qualified to do the work, the employer must provide training or other experience to help the employee achieve the necessary skills.
For employees absent for 90 days or more, the employer may be able to reassign the servicemember to another job with similar seniority, status, and pay as the prior job. There are additional benefit requirements that are time dependent including salary, eligibility for promotions, and other benefits.
How do your Atlanta USERRA attorneys advocate for servicemembers?
If an employer has violated USERRA, our Atlanta employment law attorneys will seek all the remedies USERRA provides including:
- Seeking injunctive relief – such as requiring that you be rehired
- Compensation for your lost wages and benefits
- Liquidated damages, an amount equal to your lost wages and benefit, if the court finds that your employer's violation of the act was willful.
- Attorneys’ fees and expenses
What employment resources can you recommend for uniformed servicemembers in Atlanta?
At Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP, we want to help returning servicemembers, veterans, and members of the National Guard and Reserves. We’ve compiled this list of resources to help you learn more about the laws which protect your rights.
More about USERRA
- USERRA Regulations - Private/State/Local Employees
- U.S. Department of Labor, Veterans Employment and Training Service USERRA
- U.S. Department of Defense, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve USERRA
- U.S. Department of Justice, Servicemembers, and Veterans Initiative
- Feds Hire Vets is a U.S. Office of Personnel Management website to assist veterans who want to find a job in the federal government.
U.S. Department of Labor Employment Initiatives & Resources for veterans, transitioning service members, and their spouses — and for employers in the hiring process.
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Employment Toolkit.
- The Georgia Department of Veterans Service.
- Georgia Department of Labor Veteran’s Employment Initiatives.
Do you have a USERRA attorney near me?
Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP is based in Atlanta. We are proud to meet service members at our office is located at 600 Peachtree St. NE, Suite 3900. Our employment attorneys conduct phone and video consultations by appointment, and serve clients throughout Georgia, including those in Athens, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, and Savannah.
We understand many servicemembers struggle to balance their military career with their civilian career. We appreciate how difficult it is for many veterans when they return home from serving our country. Our Atlanta USERRA lawyers hold employers accountable when they discriminate against servicemembers or fail to honor their employment rights.
Call our Atlanta USERRA attorneys for experienced help today
If you are a servicemember getting ready to return to work, thinking about signing up for duty and are unsure of how it will affect your employment, or feeling you have been discriminated against because of your service, call or contact our Atlanta USERRA attorneys today. Serving your country should not mean losing your job and being unable to obtain one on your return. The experienced Atlanta retaliation attorneys of Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP have decades of experience fighting for employees of all backgrounds including members of the military. We represent servicemembers throughout Georgia.