What is USERRA?


In 2001, almost 700,000 Reserve and National Guard personnel were called into active duty. Had former president Bill Clinton not signed the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA 38 U.S.C. 4301 -4335), the employment of these men and women may not have been protected while on military leave. According to the United States Department of Justice, USERRA is now safeguarding the rights of service members and veterans from adverse employment action.

Yet, some employers knowingly or unknowingly violate the rights of those risking their lives to protect our country. When Americans serving in the military experience this type of injustice, the extent of USERRA protection can be explained by contacting a military lawyer, like those at The Cochran Firm South Florida.

Those Eligible for USERRA Protection

When training for active duty or in need of a work absence to submit to an examination for determining eligibility for active duty you are still covered under USERRA. Here is a short list of those military members covered under USERRA:

  • Current and prospective members of the U.S. Armed Forces on voluntary or involuntary active duty
  • Past members of the U.S. Armed Services
  • Those in the National Guard or Reserve Units
  • Individuals in the National Disaster Medical Service (NDMS)
  • Other service categories designated by the President in times of emergency

Employers Who Must Be USERRA Compliant

Regardless of size, virtually all U.S. companies must abide by USERRA. This means employers cannot discriminate against a person on the basis of past or current military service or intent to serve in the armed forces. USERRA applies to all of the following employers:

  • Private Companies
  • Federal Government
  • State and Local Governments

Protections Afforded by USERRA

  • Initial employment – an employer may not discriminate against a military service member when making decisions regarding hiring decisions
  • Re-employment – individuals serving in the military are guaranteed prompt return to employment after completion of service
  • Promotion – employers are generally required to permit a returning service member to make up a test for promotion that was missed while absent, unless it is impossible or unreasonable
  • Any employment benefits – USERRA even gives an employee the right to continued health insurance coverage, as well as family members

If you feel that your employer has discriminated against you because of past, present, or future military service please contact our experienced USERRA attorneys. Please call today for a confidential consultation.