Wrongful Termination and USERRA
Service in the United States military is one of the most honorable professions. At some point, nearly all service members are called away from their home and family. In the process, they may have to leave another job.
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) provides certain employment rights to military service members. Among these is the right to reemployment. Violations of USERRA may constitute wrongful termination. Employees in the Allen, Plano, and Frisco, TX, area who believe they have faced wrongful termination in violation of USERRA can work with wrongful termination lawyer Dan A. Atkerson to seek compensation for resulting damages.
What Protections Does USERRA Provide?
USERRA provides a number of employment protections to military service members. First and foremost in regards to wrongful termination, USERRA ensures job security for employees who leave their job to serve for the military. These laws provide service members with the right to reemployment upon return from active duty. In addition, when a military service member returns to their job, they should not be punished or otherwise retaliated against for their time away. Any time spent serving for the military should be viewed the same way as a leave of absence or furlough from the position.
Further protections provided by USERRA include the prevention of career disadvantages (i.e. demotion, denial of a promotion, pay cuts, etc.) related to military service, and protection from discrimination based on past or present military service (including refusing to hire a military service member).
Who Is Protected by USERRA?
USERRA protects anyone who has trained or served for any branch of the United States military. This includes active members of the armed forces as well as National Guard and Reserve members, members of the National Disaster Medical System, and individuals who serve in the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.
It is important to note that USERRA protections apply whether a person voluntarily serves for the military, or whether they are called to serve without choice.
Getting a Job Back after Returning from Duty
Reemployment is a vital protection provided by USERRA, but there are certain criteria that military service members must meet to ensure job protection, including:
- Providing the employer with notice of military status
- Returning to work in a timely manner upon completing service
- Limiting military service to no more than five years during the span of employment (unless certain exceptions apply)
- Ending military service under favorable terms (not a dishonorable discharge)
If military service members do not meet this criteria, their employers may use it as justification for denying reemployment upon return from military service.
What to Do if Your USERRA Rights Have Been Violated
If all criteria are met and a service member is denied reemployment upon their return from duty, they likely have grounds to file a wrongful termination suit. Employees who suspect they have been victims of wrongful termination in violation of USERRA should contact an employment law attorney as soon as possible to consider their legal options. If there is evidence of wrongful termination, attorney Dan A. Atkerson works on his clients’ behalf to pursue financial compensation for damages resulting from the loss of employment.
Contact Dan A. Atkerson
If your employer fired you while you were away for military service, or denied you reemployment upon your return, they should be held accountable for violating your legal protections under USERRA. To discuss the details of your situation with wrongful termination lawyer Dan A. Atkerson, send us a message online, or call (214) 383-3606.