Virginia Military Service (USERRA) laws & HR compliance analysis

Virginia Military Service (USERRA): What you need to know

Much like the federal government, which has enacted the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), many states have enacted laws to protect the employment status of the men and women who serve in the armed forces (38 USC 4301et seq.).
Virginia has enacted such a law.
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Remember that USERRA, a federal law, preempts any state law that is less protective of the employment and reemployment rights of uniformed service people. That is, if Virginia law is less protective than USERRA, the rights given by USERRA will apply. Likewise, if Virginia law is more protective than USERRA, the Virginia law will apply.
There is more information.
Virginia law prohibits employers from discharging or otherwise discriminating against an employee because he or she is a member of the Virginia National Guard, Virginia State Defense Force, or naval militia. The law covers all public and private employers, regardless of size (VA Code Sec. 44-98, Sec. 44-93.4). An employer that violates this provision is guilty of a misdemeanor and may be fined, including attorneys’ fees and costs, or imprisoned up to 30 days, or both.
Effective July 1, 2021, Virginia House Bill 2161/Senate Bill 1410 further prohibits discrimination in public accommodations, employment, and housing based on a person's status as active military or a military spouse. Under the law, “military status” means status as 1) a member of the uniformed forces of the United States, 2) a veteran, or 3) a dependent of a servicemember. (The support provided by the servicemember to the dependent should have been provided 180 days immediately preceding an alleged action.)
Virginia National Guard, Virginia Defense Force, or naval militia members who are called to state active duty by the governor or military duty pursuant to Title 32 of the United States Code for weekend drills and 2-week training duty are entitled to take leave without pay from a nongovernment job and cannot be forced to use vacation or other accrued leaves for a period of active service.

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