Workers who also serve in the military are afforded job protections under what is known as The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Relief Act of 1994 (USERRA). This Act prevents an employer from discriminating against or firing an employee due to necessary leave for active military service.
Under both Federal and state Law, an employer must allow an employee to return to his or her position after U.S. military service if certain criteria are met. Those criteria are (1) The employee must have given the employer written or verbal notice of the military service prior to leaving, (2) The military service period did not exceed five years, (3) The military service member received an honorable discharge, and (4) The employee applied for reemployment.
In addition to allowing reemployment, an employer is also required to treat and place the employee in position as if he or she had never left. The employee must be placed in proper position, taking into consideration any title promotions, additional benefits, or pay raises that would have taken place with ongoing employment. In addition, the employer must offer to train the employee to equip him for a new position. The service member may not be fired without cause for up to one year after reinstatement.
While very few, there are still some certain exceptions to these rules. If an employer is claiming an exception and denying employment upon your attempt to return to work, a military law attorney can help in determining whether your rights are being violated.