Military Veteran’s Employment Rights

May 25th, 2012

It would seem like we should not even need a law to ensure that military veterans are not discriminated against by employers based on the requirements of their service. If you have served in the military you know that you bring a strong work ethic and high level of discipline to any role that you may play within a company. The qualities that employers repeatedly say they are seeking in job applicants are personified by our military veterans.

Yet the unemployment rate among activated National Guard and reserve veterans is three times that of the rest of the population. A recent survey indicates that a shocking 65% of employers say that they would not hire an active Guard Member or Reservist. As you may know, this exactly the type of discrimination that the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), is meant to prohibit.

Under the USERRA a service member who returns to an employment position is supposed to be employed in the same role that they would have been in if they had not left for deployment. This includes salary, position, and seniority. If retraining or training is needed, reasonable efforts are required to bring the returning service member up to speed.

If the returning service member is not able to be placed in the position which they would have held if they had not been deployed, they are to be placed in the closest approximate position, if that is also unavailable, then to the position which they had prior to the deployment.

Source: CBS Moneywatch, “Veterans’ unemployment — a national disgrace,” Michael Hess, May 18, 2012.

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