USERRA Lawyers: Protecting the Rights of Service Members

USERRA Attorney

If you’re a service member facing the challenges of returning to civilian employment after military service, you’ve found your allies. Our dedicated USERRA lawyers at Leitner Varughese Warywoda Law are experts in advocating for the rights of military personnel, ensuring that your transition back to your civilian job is seamless and just. From advising on reemployment rights to defending against workplace discrimination, we are here to stand up for you every step of the way.

As a recognized USERRA law firm, our experienced attorneys focus on cases involving returning service member discrimination and your rights under USERRA. Whether it’s pursuing a USERRA lawsuit settlement, addressing a USERRA rights violation, or combating Uniformed Service discrimination, our national USERRA lawyers are prepared to fight for you. Our commitment to excellence as USERRA employment attorneys ensures that every service member receives the robust legal representation they deserve.

Have a Claim Under USERRA?

Facing workplace issues due to your military service? If you’ve encountered job loss, demotion, or harassment related to your duty, consider a USERRA claim. This federal law safeguards Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights for service members, including those in the National Guard and Reserves. It addresses employment discrimination, ensuring those on active duty or involved in military duties are not unfairly treated. Whether you’re a returning service member or facing adverse employment action due to future military service, our experienced USERRA attorneys can guide you through filing a complaint to protect your civilian employment rights.

Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) of 1994 safeguards the civilian employment rights of military service members, ensuring protection against employment discrimination and guaranteeing reemployment rights after military duty. USERRA applies to all U.S. employers, supporting service members’ return to their civilian jobs promptly with retained seniority and benefits. It addresses issues such as lost wages, employment benefits, and litigation costs for returning service members, emphasizing the importance of military service without penalizing the individual’s civilian career and future military service.

USERRA enforces a crucial principle known as the “escalator principle,” ensuring that returning service members are reemployed in a position they would have attained had they not been absent for military service, reflecting any promotions or benefits they would have naturally earned. This federal law extends its protections to all service members, regardless of whether they serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, or Public Health Services, including those performing duty as part of the National Disaster Medical System. It mandates employers to provide advance notice, secure employment rights, and address any employment discrimination issues, thus upholding the rights and dignity of those who serve.

Who is Protected Under USERRA?

USERRA offers protection to a wide range of individuals serving in various capacities, including:

  • Active duty service members
  • Reserve military personnel
  • National Guard members
  • Individuals in the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service
  • Members of the National Disaster Medical System
  • Federal employees and private sector workers serving in the Uniformed Services
  • Those performing duty in the Army National Guard and Air National Guard

This comprehensive coverage ensures that those who serve or have served are not disadvantaged in their civilian careers due to their commitment to national security and public health.

Key Protections Offered by USERRA

userra discrimination lawyer

USERRA protects service members from employment discrimination related to their military obligations, ensuring rights to reemployment in their civilian jobs post-service. It mandates that employers provide returning service members with positions they would have attained if not for their absence due to military duty, including similar seniority, pay, and benefits. Additionally, it protects against dismissal without just cause for a period after their return, addressing key concerns like job security and fair treatment in the workplace for those serving in the armed forces.

How to File a USERRA Claim

To initiate a USERRA claim, service members are advised to meticulously record any incidents of employment discrimination or rights infringements. Following this, reaching out to their employer for a resolution is the recommended first course of action. Should these efforts not lead to a satisfactory resolution, filing a complaint with the Department of Labor’s Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS) is the subsequent step, as VETS offers support in the claim filing and processing stages.

However, if the situation escalates to the need for legal intervention, consulting with an experienced USERRA lawyer is highly advisable. Such legal experts can provide invaluable guidance through the complexities of the legal system and represent you effectively in court, enhancing the chances of a favorable outcome.

Hiring a USERRA Lawyer: Benefits and Services

Hiring an attorney for USERRA can provide numerous benefits for service members navigating the complexities of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). These benefits include:

  1. Expert Guidance: USERRA lawyers specialize in military employment laws and are well-versed in the nuances and specifics of USERRA regulations. They can provide expert guidance on your rights and obligations under the law, ensuring that you fully understand how to protect your employment and benefits while serving in the military.
  2. Effective Advocacy: A USERRA attorney can serve as a powerful advocate on your behalf, representing your interests in disputes with your employer. They possess the negotiation skills and legal knowledge necessary to effectively advocate for your rights, whether through direct negotiation, mediation, or litigation.
  3. Legal Representation: If your case requires legal action, a USERRA attorney can represent you in court or before administrative bodies such as the Department of Labor or the Merit Systems Protection Board. They can prepare and present a compelling case to protect your employment rights, manage all legal filings, and navigate the court system on your behalf.
  4. Maximizing Benefits: A lawyer for USERRA can help ensure that you receive all the benefits you’re entitled to, including proper reemployment, seniority, salary adjustments, and benefits accrual. They can also assist in disputes over pension rights and other long-term benefits that may be affected by military service.
  5. Addressing Discrimination: If you face discrimination due to your military service, a Uniformed Service discrimination lawyer can help you file a complaint and pursue legal remedies. They understand the evidence required to prove discrimination and can work to hold employers accountable for violations of your rights.
  6. Saving Time and Reducing Stress: Navigating USERRA claims can be time-consuming and stressful. A lawyer can handle the legal processes and communications with your employer, allowing you to focus on your military service and personal life without the added burden of managing a legal case.
  7. Risk Mitigation: By ensuring that your reemployment rights are fully protected, a USERRA attorney can help mitigate risks that could affect your civilian career. This proactive approach can prevent potential employment issues before they arise, safeguarding your professional future.
  8. Initial Consultation: Many attorneys for USERRA offer an initial consultation to discuss your case. This meeting can provide valuable insights into your legal options and help you understand the best course of action for protecting your employment rights.

In summary, hiring a USERRA attorney offers service members legal expertise, dedicated advocacy, and peace of mind during the complex process of securing their employment rights before, during, and after military service.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible for USERRA protection?
Individuals who serve or have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, Reserve, National Guard, or other Uniformed Services are eligible for USERRA protections, provided they notify their employer of their military service, serve under honorable conditions, and return to work or apply for reemployment in a timely manner after the conclusion of their service.
Who must comply with USERRA?
All U.S. employers must comply with the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), including private businesses, federal, state, and local governments, regardless of size. This law ensures that employees who serve or have served in the military, including the National Guard and Reserve, are entitled to reemployment in their civilian jobs with the same status, pay, and benefits as if they had not been absent for military service. USERRA also protects service members from discrimination based on their military obligations in their employment.
How does USERRA protect my job?
USERRA requires employers to reemploy service members in their civilian jobs when they return from duty, with the same seniority, status, and pay, as well as other rights and benefits determined by seniority. It also protects individuals from discrimination in employment based on past, present, or future military service.
When should I contact a USERRA discrimination lawyer?
You should contact a USERRA discrimination lawyer as soon as you suspect your rights under USERRA have been violated. This could be before taking action against an employer, such as when you notice a discrepancy in your reemployment position, benefits, or if you face wrongful termination.
Can a USERRA attorney help me if I'm still in the military?
Yes, lawyers for USERRA can provide advice and assistance even if you’re currently serving. They can offer counsel on how to secure your job upon return or help address any discrimination issues that may arise during your transition back to civilian employment.
What if I am disabled during my military service?
USERRA mandates that employers accommodate disabilities and rehire service members in suitable positions, equivalent in seniority, status, and pay to what they would have had without military service interruption. If you face issues, a lawyer for returning service members can address USERRA discrimination and rights violations. For legal challenges, a Uniformed Service discrimination attorney can guide you, potentially leading to a USERRA lawsuit settlement. Always assert your rights under USERRA with the help of skilled USERRA attorneys.
What can I do if my employer violates USERRA?
Should you suspect a breach of your USERRA rights, options include filing a USERRA complaint with VETS or pursuing a private lawsuit. A lawyer for returning service members can assist with claims of discrimination or rights violations. For legal recourse, including the potential for a USERRA lawsuit settlement, it’s prudent to consult with a USERRA employment attorney or a Uniformed Service discrimination lawyer. These professionals are equipped to navigate your case through federal or state courts, ensuring your rights under USERRA are upheld.
Can my employer refuse to reinstate me after military service?
USERRA ensures that employers reinstate returning service members to their former or equivalent roles unless it’s unfeasible due to significant changes at the workplace, a standard that’s tough for employers to justify. If you’re facing reemployment issues, consider consulting with a USERRA discrimination lawyer or a Uniformed Service discrimination attorney who understands your rights under USERRA. Such attorneys for USERRA, including lawyers for returning service members, are adept at handling cases of service member discrimination and can aid in rectifying any USERRA rights violations.
Do I need legal representation to enforce my USERRA rights?
Although you can submit a USERRA complaint through VETS on your own, seeking advice from a USERRA employment lawyer can be beneficial. Such attorneys, well-versed in cases of USERRA discrimination, can offer expert guidance and enhance your chances of a positive resolution if you’re facing issues with your employer.
Can I be fired after returning from military service?
If dismissed within one year after reemployment, USERRA mandates that your employer must have just cause, tied to your service duration. For any USERRA rights violations or discrimination, consult with a USERRA employment attorney. Filing a USERRA complaint with a lawyer for returning service members ensures your protection against unfair termination. Experienced USERRA lawyers can help secure a fair lawsuit settlement if your reemployment rights are compromised.
How can a USERRA employment lawyer help me with my employer?
They can communicate with your employer on your behalf, ensure compliance with USERRA laws, and advocate for your rights, addressing issues like wrongful termination or loss of benefits.
How long do I have to return to work after military service under USERRA?
The period within which you must report back to work is contingent on the length of your military duty. If your duty was less than 31 days, you are expected to resume work at the start of the next regular shift following safe travel time plus an eight-hour rest period. For duty spanning 31 to 180 days, you are required to apply for reemployment within 14 days of completing your duty. For duties extending beyond 180 days, the application for reemployment should be filed within 90 days after the end of your duty. For service over 180 days, the application must be submitted within 90 days after service completion.
What should I do before leaving for military service to ensure USERRA protection?
It’s important to provide your employer with advance written or verbal notice of your military service. Although USERRA does not specify a time frame for giving notice, providing it as early as possible is advisable to help your employer prepare for your absence.
Can your USERRA attorneys represent me in all states and provide support nationwide?
Yes, our USERRA attorneys are equipped to represent you in federal matters pertaining to USERRA, providing comprehensive support nationwide. We ensure that no matter where you are in the country, you have access to expert legal representation and support for your USERRA case.
How does USERRA relate to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) for federal employees?
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) provides protections for federal employees returning from military service, including the right to file appeals with the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) if they believe their employment rights have been violated. The MSPB serves as an independent agency overseeing the fair treatment of federal employees, allowing them to address issues such as discrimination due to military service or problems with reemployment. For federal employees under USERRA, the MSPB process offers a pathway to seek remedies like job reinstatement and compensation for lost wages, requiring adherence to specific procedures and timelines for filing claims.
How does USERRA protect service members in the United States military from being treated differently in their civilian jobs after returning from active duty?
USERRA ensures that service members who return from active duty in the United States military are not treated differently or discriminated against in their civilian jobs. This federal law mandates that returning service members are reemployed in their civilian job with the same seniority, status, benefits, and pay they would have received if they had not been absent for military service. This protection covers all aspects of employment, including promotions, raises, and benefits eligibility. If a service member finds that they are being treated differently or facing discrimination due to their military service, USERRA provides legal channels through which they can seek enforcement of their rights, including filing complaints with the Department of Labor or pursuing legal action in court.
What should service members do during an initial consultation with an attorney regarding USERRA rights and returning to their civilian jobs after active duty?
When consulting with a USERRA law firm or experienced USERRA attorneys, returning service members should detail their military service, discuss any employer communications about their service duty, and intentions for job reinstatement. Bring all relevant military and employment documents to help your USERRA employment lawyer understand potential rights violations. Inquire about the legal framework, possible challenges, and protective actions with your Uniformed Service discrimination attorney. Understanding your rights under USERRA is crucial, whether facing discrimination, contemplating a USERRA lawsuit, or seeking a lawsuit settlement. USERRA attorneys can advise on filing a complaint and ensure that they are prepared to defend your employment rights.

LVW Law: Committed to Upholding Service Member Employment Protections, Nationwide

experienced userra lawyers

In our commitment to defending the rights of those who serve, our team of national USERRA attorneys is prepared to vigorously protect and ensure your employment rights under USERRA. If you suspect that your rights as a service member have been violated, we urge you to contact us without delay. You can reach us by phone at (888) 594-0424 or through our online contact form. We promise a quick response to discuss how our USERRA employment lawyers can assist you in safeguarding your rights and achieving the fair outcome you deserve. Rely on our unwavering commitment to work tirelessly on your behalf for the justice and recognition you are entitled to. We look forward to hearing from you!