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What You Need To Know About USERRA (Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act)

Updated: Oct 26

How California Vets Are Given Employment Rights In California

Reintegrating into civilian life is one of the most challenging things about returning from military service. Naturally, one of the first concerns of veterans is their ability to find work again and keep their jobs. But unfortunately, they might also have disabilities that bar them from working as much and as efficiently as they want to.

Unfortunately, this leads to employment discrimination, lack of accommodations, and difficulties in re-employed.

So, what can you do about this? What laws are helping veterans through these difficult transitional times? Let's look at what our experienced USERRA lawyers in Los Angeles have to say about it:

USERRA los angeles lawyer

What Is The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)?

The Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS), a program run by the Department of Labor, offers assistance to anybody with a USERRA claim.

The Veterans' Reemployment Rights (VRR) Statute is strengthened and clarified by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). USERRA safeguards benefits and rights to employment in the civilian sector for veterans and Reserve component members.

By clarifying the legislation, enhancing enforcement procedures, and extending eligibility for the Department of Labor to help process claims to Federal Government employees, USERRA also significantly strengthens the protection of service member rights and benefits.

Are There Limitations Under USERRA For California-Based Vets?

The USERRA limits the total number of years a person may miss work due to military service while still being eligible for re-employment to five years (previously four years).

The five-year restriction is subject to notable exceptions, such as initial enlistments lasting more than five years, periodic National Guard and Reserve training duty, and involuntary active duty extensions and recalls, particularly in times of national emergency.

As long as the fundamental qualifying requirements are satisfied, USERRA explicitly states that re-employment protection is independent of the timing, frequency, length, or type of service.

If you're having trouble with going about your USERRA claim, consider consulting with a USERRA Los Angeles Lawyer to help. USERRA lawyers in California know how complicated the process will be and can help you file the proper paperwork, investigate possible claims, and represent you in the most crucial points of the claim.

USERRA lawyers in Los Angeles

What About Veterans With Disabilities?

Veterans with disabilities are protected by USERRA, which mandates that employers make reasonable attempts to make accommodations for their disabilities. In addition, up to two years after their service is completed, service members who are recovering from wounds sustained while serving or receiving training may apply for re-employment or return to their positions.

The long-standing "escalator" principle is upheld by USERRA. It stipulates that returning service members are given the same seniority, status, compensation, and other rights and benefits based on seniority in the position they would have held had they not been called to active duty.

Additionally, USERRA mandates that reasonable efforts be made to help returning military members update or improve their abilities in order to help them become eligible for re-employment. The law specifies other re-employment opportunities if the service member is not eligible for the "escalator" role.

What If I Get Fired Or Discriminated Against At Work Because I Served In The Military?

In accordance with USERRA, anyone serving in the military is also considered to be on a furlough or leave of absence and is eligible for the same non-seniority privileges as people taking time off for other reasons.

Remember, serving in the military is considered a right. Much like serving on the jury or voting during elections, your employer cannot fire you for taking time off to do so. If an employer fires you for doing so, it might count as an act of wrongful termination; this means you have grounds to file claims with a USERRA Los Angeles Lawyer.

Is Health Insurance Covered For Returning Military Vets?

USERRA covers service members' health insurance and pension plans. Those who continue their employer-sponsored health insurance while serving in the military for more than 30 days may do so for up to 24 months. However, they may be asked to pay up to 102 percent of the total premium.

Health care is supplied as if the service member had continued working for less than 31 days of active duty. By explicitly stating that all pension plans are covered, USERRA specifies the scope of pension plan protection.

Is There A Deadline For Employment Re-Application Under USERRA?

The time an individual has to apply for re-employment or report back to work after serving in the military depends on the time spent on active duty:

  1. For service of fewer than 31 days, the service member must report for duty on the first full day following discharge from duty, beginning the next regularly scheduled work period and allowing for a safe return home and an eight-hour rest time.

  2. A service member who served for longer than 30 but less than 181 days must apply for re-employment within 14 days.

  3. If you served for more than 180 days, you must apply for re-employment within 90 days of being released from duty.

In addition, USERRA mandates that service members give their employers early written or verbal notice of all military duty, unless doing so would be impractical, unreasonable, or prevented by a military necessity.

A worker must give notice as advance as possible, given the situation. Additionally, service personnel is permitted (but not obligated) to spend an accrued vacation or yearly leave while on active duty.

If you're having trouble sorting through paperwork, requirements, and deadlines, consider hiring a prescreened Los Angeles USERRA Lawyer to manage the application for you.

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