Leaves of Absence

Service Members Rights & Benefits (USERRA)

The attorneys at Outten & Golden can help military service members, reservists, and veterans to protect and enforce their employment rights and benefits under federal, state, and local laws, including the federal Uniformed Services Employment & Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), federal and state veteran’s preference laws that help veterans to secure public employment, and promotions.

The federal statute known as USERRA, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, gives employees the right to take leave from their civilian jobs for military service. Under USERRA, once the employee has completed his or her military service, the employer must reinstate the employee (so long as the employee meets certain basic requirements) in the job that he or she would have attained had he or she not been absent for military service, with the same seniority, status, and rate of pay, or to a similar position.

USERRA rights of service members, reservists, and veterans

USERRA provides some of the strongest workplace protections under federal law including:

  • Prohibiting workplace discrimination, retaliation, and harassment based on military service or status.
  • Requiring that following employees’ service in the military, employees have the right to be reemployed to their civilian jobs or the jobs the persons would have attained had they not been absent for military service (so long as they meet basic requirements), and the right to receive the rights and benefits associated with that civilian job.
  • Requiring that servicemembers receive pension credits or retirement contributions from a civilian employer after they return from a period of military service.
  • Requiring that servicemembers who are injured or become disabled during a period of military leave be reemployed in any position that they can do with or without a reasonable accommodation by their civilian employers.
  • Requiring that certain employee benefits be continued during military service.
  • Prohibiting employers from terminating employees except for cause following periods of military service.
  • Voiding any laws, employer practices, agreements, or contracts that limit or eliminate any rights or benefits of servicemembers or veterans under USERRA

USERRA applies to virtually every employer in the United States of every size.

Many state laws prohibit discrimination against employees based on their military service or status, and some of these laws provide different and more expansive remedies than the remedies available to persons under USERRA.

Contact USERRA Lawyers

The attorneys at Outten & Golden can help military service members and veterans protect their rights to employment reinstatement and to a safe, fair workplace. If you believe your employment rights under USERRA have been violated, please contact the firm through the “Contact Us" form or by calling us in the New York, Chicago, San Francisco, or Washington, DC office (see bottom of page for phone numbers) to begin the Outten & Golden intake process.

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Related Cases

Savage v. Federal Express Corp.

Status:
Resolved
Updated:

In 2014, Kenneth E. Savage filed a lawsuit alleging that Federal Express Corp. violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (“USERRA”) by failing to provide him with the required pension credits.

In the district court, Federal Express was granted summary judgment on Savage...

State of Washington and the Washington State Patrol—Approximately $15 million Class Settlement

Status:
Resolved
Updated:

In January 2014, Christina Martin filed a class action lawsuit in Washington Superior Court alleging that the Washington State Patrol (“WSP”) has failed to provide military veterans with a veterans preference that is guaranteed under Washington State law when veterans apply to become WSP troopers...

News

American Airlines Can't Defeat Military Benefits Suit

Law360 - Adam Lidgett

A Pennsylvania federal judge has refused to ground the bulk of a proposed class action accusing American Airlines of violating federal anti-discrimination law by failing to give pilots credit for short stints of military leave when calculating profit-sharing awards.

U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle III on Tuesday declined to dismiss two counts of pilot James Scanlan’s three-count suit claiming the company violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.

For one, the judge let stand a USERRA claim that participants in a company profit-sharing plan who took short-term...

Alaska Airlines Can't Dodge Military Leave Pay Suit

Law360 - Adam Lidgett

A Washington federal judge on Monday refused to dismiss a proposed class action accusing Alaska Airlines Inc. and its sister company Horizon Air Industries Inc. of shortchanging hundreds of pilots who took short-term military leave on pay and benefits.

U.S. District Judge Thomas O. Rice denied the airlines' motion to dismiss Alaska Airlines pilot Casey Clarkson's Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act claims, finding the court can't make a decision on various issues based on the current pleadings.

The court said there wasn't enough evidence in the complaint for it to make a...

United Keeps Fighting Workers' Paid Military Leave Suit

Law360 - Alyssa Aquino

Private sector employers are not obligated to provide paid military leave, United Airlines and its parent company United Continental Holdings argued in their second move to toss proposed class claims over its military leave policy.

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act mandates that public employers pay for workers' short-term military leave, but the law is deliberately quiet on the issue of private employers, the airline argued. United is looking again to toss a pilot's amended complaint claiming he was unfairly refused compensation for his short-term military leaves.

The...