Whether you are in the reserves, are subject to recall by the U.S. Armed Forces or face the potential of the National Guard calling you into service, you may have received orders deploying you for a significant amount of time. You know that you must do your duty, but you wonder whether your civilian job will be waiting for you when you return.
The simple answer is that your employer should hold your position for you. The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act guarantees it. However, you need to meet certain conditions in order to bind your employer to the provisions of the act.
Your rights to reemployment
In order to impose an obligation on your employer to hold your position while you are gone, you must meet the following criteria:
- Your cumulative service with your current employer is five years or less.
- You provide your employer with advance verbal or written notice of your deployment.
- You either apply for reemployment or return to work in a timely manner upon your return.
- Your separation from military service occurred under honorable conditions.
In addition, if you return with any disabilities, your employer must provide you with reasonable accommodations. Meeting these requirements means that your employer must provide you with a position in which you receive the same pay and benefits as if you had never left. At the very least, your employer must give you a comparable position if not the position you left.
If you want to retain your medical insurance while you are away, you may. Otherwise, you may have your insurance reinstated upon your return without exclusions or delays. Your employer may not discriminate against you because of your military service. An employer cannot deny you benefits, employment, reemployment or retention of your employment because of your obligations to the U.S. military. Your employer may not deny you the right to a promotion for this reason either.
What happens if your employer fails to adhere to the act?
If you are entitled to a job under USERRA, and your employer fails to provide it to you, it may be in your best interests to obtain a complete evaluation of your case. Once you understand your rights and legal options, you can move forward in a way that brings you the best resolution to the issue as possible.