Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have been having difficulty finding work when they return home. Some of this is due to the bad economy, but those who had jobs before they were deployed should be able to return to those positions. Under a federal law called the Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, employers must reinstate veterans to their civilian jobs when they return home.
Complaints from service members who have not been able to get their jobs back have skyrocketed over the past few years as more and more troops have returned home permanently. Employment law experts say that employers may not know about the law or how to comply with it.
A survey earlier this year confirmed that. About 40 percent of veterans said that they didn’t think their employer had sufficient information about their rights under USERRA. Even government and legal industry employers might not know the law when it comes to USERRA, as evidenced by a case brought by a young many against his former employer at the States Attorney’s Office in Baltimore. The man told reporters that he doesn’t think his managers intentionally violated the law and that if they had known more about it they may have complied.
Many think that giving veterans their jobs back isn’t just the way to comply with the law, it’s the right thing to do to support our troops. Still, the long wars and large number of returning veterans has put a stress on many employers. “I think as the wars have gone on it has challenged, both spiritually and pragmatically, civilian employers’ approach to USERRA,” said the editor of the Military.com website and blog.
Veterans who think that their former employer may have violated this law may want to contact an experienced employment law attorney to find out if they have any remedy.
Source: MSNBC, “Veterans return from war to find jobs gone,” Eve Tahmincioglu, June 20, 2012.