USERRA seeks to ensure that members of the uniformed services are entitled to return to their civilian employment upon completion of their service. They should be reinstated with the seniority, status, and rate of pay they would have obtained had they remained continuously employed by their civilian employer. The law also protects individuals from discrimination in hiring, promotion, and retention on the basis of present and future membership in the armed services.
To qualify for USERRA’s reemployment rights, a servicemember must meet the following eligibility criteria:
• The servicemember must have left a civilian job;
• The servicemember must have given notice to the employer that he/she was leaving to perform military service;
• The military service must not exceed five years (although there are a few exceptions);
• The servicemember must have had an honorable discharge; and
• The servicemember must have reported back to work within the appropriate time constraints.
Employers must reemploy returning servicemembers in the same job that they would have attained had they not been absent for military service and with the same seniority, status and pay, as well as other rights and benefits determined by seniority. Reasonable efforts must be made to enable returning employees to refresh or upgrade their skills to enable them to qualify for reemployment. Additionally, servicemembers are entitled to immediate reinstatement of health insurance for the member and previously covered dependents with no waiting period and no exclusion of preexisting conditions other than those that are military service-related.
Employers must reemploy servicemembers who are disabled because of their military service in a position most nearly approximating their former position if they can no longer perform that job.