Philadelphia Employment Law Lawyers
Military Leave Rights
- What are my re-employment rights?
- Is it illegal for any employer to discriminate against me because of my military service?
- Can my employer discontinue my health coverage?
- What can I do if I have been unlawfully treated?
The Uniformed Services Employment and Re-Employment Rights Act (USERRA) protects the job rights of individuals who voluntarily or involuntarily leave employment positions to begin military service. The USERRA also prohibits employers from discriminating against past and present members of the uniformed services and applicants to the uniformed services.
You have the right to be re-employed in your civilian job if you leave that job to perform service in the uniformed armed forces, if you:
- You give your employer advance written or verbal notice of your service;
- You have five years or less of accumulated service in the armed service while with a particular employer;
- You return to work or reapply for re-employment in a timely manner after conclusion of service; and
- You have not been separated from the service with a disqualifying discharge or under other than Honorable conditions.
If you are eligible to be re-employed you must be restored to the job and benefits, which you have obtained if you had not been absent due to the military service.
If you are a past or present member of the uniformed services; have applied for membership in uniformed services; or are obliged to serve in the uniformed services, then your employer may not deny you:
- Initial employment;
- Retention and employment;
- Promotion; or
- Any benefit of any employment.
In addition, an employer may not retaliate against anyone assisting in the enforcement of USERRA rights including testifying or making a statement in connection with a proceeding under the USERRA, even if that person has no service connection.
If you leave your job for military service, you have the right to elect continuing or existing employer-based health plan coverage for you and your family for up to 24 months while in the military. Even if you don’t elect to continue coverage during your military service, you have a right to be reinstated in your employer’s health plan when you are re-employed generally without any waiting period or exclusions exist, e.g. pre-existing condition (except for service connected illness or injuries).
There are two ways you can enforce your rights under the USERRA. One is filing a Complaint with the US Dept. of Labor, Veterans Training and Employment and Training Services (VETS). They are authorized to investigate and resolve complaints for such violations. You may also bypass the VETS process and bring a civil action against an employer for violation of the law. If you have any questions concerning your rights under the USERRA contact us for a free case evaluation with one of our experienced Philadelphia employment law attorneys.