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At the bottom of the page are links to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) issued by the U.S. Department of Labor (22 CFC 1002). Those FAQ are official regulations and have the power and force of law.
After Desert Storm, Congress was flooded with horror stories of our service members who were unfairly treated and discriminated against when they returned to their civilian jobs. Seniority was lost, wages reduced, and veterans were fired. Congress’ response was to the pass the Uniform Servicemember’s Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). At it’s most basic level, this law prevents any employer from discriminating against a person because of his or her service to our country.
It provides for restoration of job upon release from voluntary or involuntary active duty. While you are working, your employer cannot force your to take vacation or sick to complete your military obligation. The employer does not have to pay you while on military duty.
All requests for Military Leave MUST be granted.
In order to receive the benefits of the law:
1. Must have held a civilian job
2. Must have given prior notice of military service, where practicable (exception: military necessity)
3. The period of service doesn’t exceed 5 years.
4. You must have served under “honorable conditions” (Honorable or General Discharge)
5. You must report back or reapply in a timely manner:
Activation Period Return to work Coverage Period
30 days or less the next work day 6 months
31-180 days 14 days after deactivation 6 months
181 days or more 90 days after deactivation one year
Any period if 2 years after deactivation one year
Seniority, Promotions and Raises.
The law applies the “Escalator Principle”. Imagine that the servicemember is standing a step of an escalator. The military removes the servicemember. The step continues to move up. When returned, the servicemember goes back to his or her step, regardless how far it has traveled. Therefore, this is no loss of seniority, promotions or raises. If in the absence all remaining employees received a raise, so will the absent servicemember.
Job Protection
New York is an “at will” state. This means that where there is no contract, the employer can fire any employee at will and without a cause. Except, a servicemember who have returned is protected for a period of time from such terminations.
No servicemember may be discriminated against by his employer, as a result of his or her military service. All servicemembers are to be treated with the respect that they deserve.