Have a USERRA and Military Reemployment Case in California?
Contact Our San Diego Employment Lawyer
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 [“USERRA”] is a federal law that protects veterans from employment discrimination. Among other things, USERRA provides veterans with reemployment rights after leaving a civilian job to serve in the military. USERRA provides protection to all individuals who have served in the armed forces and applies to both private employers and governmental agencies.
Discrimination Protection Under USERRA
The USERRA prevents San Diego employment discrimination. An employer may not allow an individual’s service in the uniformed services affect any hiring decision. Likewise, an employee’s service in the armed forces cannot be a factor when making termination decisions. USERRA also requires that employers provide reasonable accommodations for disabled veterans. If an employee takes a leave of absence to serve in the uniformed services, an employer is not required to provide pay or benefits during that time period; however, under USERRA, an employee is entitled to full reemployment rights if certain criteria are met.
Military Reemployment Rights
To qualify for reemployment under USERRA, a veteran must meet the following requirements:
- Written or verbal notice of military service to the employer
- Length of absence does not exceed five years
- Submittal of an application for reemployment.
Upon reemployment, the veteran is entitled to full seniority, rights, and benefits. Such rights and benefits include coverage under an employer-provided health plan and pension benefits.
Remedies for Violations of USERRA
If a former employer improperly fails to reemploy a veteran, the employee may file a complaint in court, or with the Secretary of Labor. Any employer who improperly fails to reemploy a veteran may be subject to a wide variety of sanctions, including:
- Compensation for lost wages or benefits caused by a USERRA violation
- Liquidated damages if the employer’s violation of USERRA was considered “willful”
- Compensation for expenses that would have been covered by the employer’s benefit package had the employee been properly rehired.
The court may also enforce the employee’s rights through injunctions, restraining orders or contempt orders.
Providing Legal Assistance to Veterans
If you are a veteran faced with possible discrimination, or an employer needing advice about re-employing veterans, you should enlist the help of an experienced San Diego employment lawyer. At Pope, Berger & Williams, LLP, each attorney strives to help those who have served our country by protecting them from possible discrimination. We also assist employers by providing guidance to ensure that they comply with all USERRA regulations. For further information, contact a San Diego discrimination lawyer at our firm today.