The employment rights of individuals who voluntarily or involuntarily leave employment positions to undertake military service are protected under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA). USERRA is intended to minimize the disadvantages to an individual that occur when that person needs to be absent from his or her civilian employment to serve in the United States uniformed services. The Act applies to persons who perform duty, voluntarily or involuntarily, in the "uniformed services," which include the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Public Health Service commissioned corps, as well as the reserve components of each of these services. Generally, the pre-service employer must reemploy service members returning from a period of service in the uniformed services.
Uniformed service includes active duty, active duty for training, inactive duty training (such as drills), initial active duty training, and funeral honors duty performed by National Guard and reserve members, as well as the period for which a person is absent from a position of employment for the purpose of an examination to determine fitness to perform any such duty. USERRA covers nearly all employees, including part-time and probationary employees. USERRA applies to virtually all U.S. employers, regardless of size.
Note that USERRA and some equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws prohibit discrimination in employment decisions, such as termination, on the basis of veteran status. USERRA prohibits employers from discriminating against past and present members of the uniformed services and applicants to the uniformed services. Under laws enforced by DOL's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), qualified special disabled veterans, Vietnam era veterans, recently separated veterans, and veterans who served on active duty during a war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized, are also protected against discrimination. See Discrimination for additional information.
DOL Web Pages on This Topic
USERRA Guide (PDF)
A non-technical resource guide to the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA)
elaws Uniformed Services Employment & Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) Advisor
Helps employers and workers understand veterans' employee eligibility and job entitlements, employer obligations, benefits and remedies under USERAA.
Laws & Regulations on This Topic
Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)
Mandates that certain persons who serve in the armed forces have a right to reemployment with the employer they were with when they entered service. This includes those called up from the reserves or National Guard. USERRA is administered by the U.S. Department of Labor's Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS).