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Uniformed Services Employment Rights

Caucasian male, over 50, works at a computer wearing a green camo uniform. US flag in background.

Your rights under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)

Reemployment Rights

You have the right to be reemployed in your civilian job if you leave that job to perform service in the uniformed service and:

  • You ensure that your employer receives advance written or verbal notice of your service;
  • You have five years or less of cumulative service in the uniformed services while with that particular employer;
  • You return to work or apply for reemployment in a timely manner after conclusion of service; and
  • You have not been separated from service with a disqualifying discharge or under other than honorable conditions. If you are eligible to be reemployed, you must be restored to the job and benefits you would have attained if you had not been absent due to military service or, in some cases, a comparable job.

Right to be Free From Discrimination and Retaliation 

If you:

  • Are a past or present member of the uniformed service;
  • Have applied for membership in the uniformed service; or
  • Are obligated to serve in the uniformed service; then an employer may not deny you:
    • Initial employment;
    • Reemployment;
    • Retention in employment;
    • Promotion; or
    • Any benefit of employment because of this status. 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 USERRA, even if that person has no service connection.

Health Insurance Protection

If you leave your job to perform military service, you have the right to elect to continue your existing employer-based health plan coverage for you and your dependents for up to 24 months while in the military.

  • Even if you don't elect to continue coverage during your military service, you have the right to be reinstated in your employer's health plan when you are reemployed, generally without any waiting periods or exclusions (e.g., pre-existing condition exclusions) except for service-connected illnesses or injuries.

Enforcement 

The U.S. Department of Labor, Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS) is authorized to investigate and resolve complaints of USERRA violations. For assistance in filing a complaint, or for any other information on USERRA, contact VETS at 1-866-4-USA-DOL or visit the U.S. Department of Labor, VETS website. Interactive USERRA Advisor's can be contacted online. 


If you file a complaint with VETS and VETS is unable to resolve it, you may request that your case be referred to the Department of Justice or the Office of Special Counsel, as applicable, for representation. You may also bypass the VETS process and bring a civil action against an employer for violations of USERRA.


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 USERRA, even if that person has no service connection. The rights listed here may vary depending on the circumstances. Additional resources were prepared by VETS and can be accessed from the U.S. Department of Labor.


Federal law requires employers to notify employees of their rights under USERRA, and employers may meet this requirement by displaying the text of this notice where they customarily place notices for employees. Office of Special Counsel USERRA protects the job rights of individuals who voluntarily or involuntarily leave employment positions to undertake military service or certain types of service in the National Disaster Medical System. USERRA also prohibits employers from discriminating against past and present members of the uniformed services, and applicants to the uniformed services.


Use the launch button to read more about your employment rights or file a claim on the Department of Labor’s website.