Military Service laws & compensation compliance analysis

Military Service: What you need to know

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) of 1994 prohibits an employer from denying any initial employment, reemployment, retention in employment, promotion, or any benefit of employment to an individual on the basis of his or her membership, application for membership, performance of service, application for service, or obligation for service in the uniformed services. The law also prohibits an employer from retaliating against an individual by taking any adverse employment action against him or her because the individual has exercised his or her USERRA rights, testified in connection with a proceeding under USERRA, or assisted in a USERRA investigation. The law covers all public and private employers (38 USC 3801et seq.).
The Veterans Opportunity to Work to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 (the VOW to Hire Heroes Act) amended USERRA to recognize claims of a hostile work environment based on an individual’s military status. Before the VOW to Hire Heroes Act took effect, courts generally did not allow individuals to sue for a hostile work environment under USERRA. USERRA, as amended, prohibits discrimination based on military status with respect to the “terms, conditions, or privileges of employment,” the same standard governing a hostile work environment under Title VII and other employment discrimination laws.
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USERRA requires that upon returning from service, members of the armed services and its reserve components must be reinstated to their private civil jobs without loss of seniority or benefits and without any break in service for pension purposes (38 USC 4301 et seq.). An employer may provide greater rights and benefits than USERRA requires, but no employer can refuse to ...

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