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Military Service Member Job Protections

People who serve in the armed forces make great sacrifices to defend our freedoms. To honor their service, there are laws that protect them from discrimination because of their veteran status. These laws also protect their jobs when they are called up for service by a branch of the U.S. armed forces or by the State of Vermont.

Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)

Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) is the federal law that protects veterans and members of the active and reserve components of the U.S. armed forces. Under USERRA:

  • Employers must promptly reemploy returning service members to the same positions that they would have attained had they not taken leave from work for military service. They are entitled to the same seniority, status, and pay, as well as other rights and benefits determined by seniority that they would have attained if they had not been absent for military service.
  • Employers may not discriminate against workers because they are past or current members of the uniformed military service.
  • Employers also may not discriminate against workers because they have applied for membership in the uniformed military service.
  • Employers may not retaliate against people who assist in the enforcement of USERRA rights, including people who testify or make a statement in connection with a proceeding under USERRA, even if the person has no connection to the military.

Service members have certain obligations that they must comply with to receive the reemployment benefits of USERRA. You can learn more about USERRA here.

Vermont Employment Rights for Reserve and National Guard Members (21 V.S.A. §491)

Under state law, any duly qualified member of the Reserve Components of the U.S. Armed Forces, of the Ready Reserve, or an organized unit of the Vermont National Guard or the National Guard of another state, is entitled to equal benefits, privileges, and protections in employment when called to state or federal service. The protections under state law include the right to be free from discrimination or retaliation for assisting in the enforcement of the law or exercising rights protected under the law.

Contact Us if Your Military Services Rights Were Violated

You can fight back if your employer violates your rights under USERRA or the parallel Vermont law that protects federal armed services and National Guard members. Sometimes employers are simply unaware of these laws and educating them might fix the problem. Sometimes employers break the law because of negative views of veterans and service members or because they do not want to the inconvenience of holding open a military service member’s job. No matter why your employer is breaking the law, the Vermont Employee Rights Group may be able to help. Call us at 833.365.2929 or fill out this online form for an initial consultation.

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