Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994
Also known as: USERRA
Signed into law by Bill Clinton
October 13, 1994
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (“USERRA”) is a federal law that provides reemployment rights to returning veterans and other members of uniformed services. Under USERRA, an employee who leaves his or her civilian job for military service and meets USERRA requirements is entitled to return to the job with the same seniority, status, and pay he or she would have received but for the military service. Additionally, an employer must provide reasonable accommodations for an employee who suffers an injury or disability or whose disability becomes aggravated during the period of military service. In addition to reemployment and disability rights, USERRA also prohibits employers from discriminating against employees because of their service in the National Guard, Armed Forces or any other uniformed service, or retaliating against employees who pursue their rights under USERRA.
Enforcement & Remedies
Employees who believe they were discriminated against on the basis of their military service may pursue an administrative remedy or may file a complaint directly in court. If an employee chooses to pursue an administrative remedy, he or she must file a complaint with the Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS). Within 90 days of receiving the complaint, the VETS must investigate and attempt to resolve the dispute. If the VETS fail to resolve the complaint, the employee may request that the VETS refer the complaint to an Attorney General. An employee who chooses not to file with the Department of Labor or is refused legal representation by the Attorney General, will not be precluded from filing a private action in federal court. It is also important to note that USERRA provides the right to a jury trial.
Notable sponsors: Gillespie V. Montgomery