EMPLOYEE MILITARY LEAVE « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles


Re-Employment and Pay Requirements for Returning Service Members

Soldiers returning from active duty to civilian life are protected by a number of federal and state laws.   This includes reservists and National Guard members.

Under the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA), it is unlawful for an employer to deny initial employment, reemployment, promotion, or any employment benefit because of the person’s obligation to perform military service.

According to the USERRA, returning service members are “required to be reemployed in the job that they would have attained had they not been absent for military service, with the same seniority, status, and pay, as well as other rights and benefits determined by seniority.” This is known as the “escalator principle” because the employer is obligated to keep the person in the seniority progression even though that individual is away on active military duty. USERRA also requires an employer to make significant efforts to train or retrain returning veterans to  refresh or upgrade their skills.

Under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, employers must seek to make reasonable accommodation for returning employees who have become disabled during their service.  If the employer is unable to make reasonable accommodation for the person’s former position, the business is obligated to place him or her in another in another position for which the person is qualified or could become qualified.  A disabled veteran also retains rehiring and placement rights for two years after his or her service ends.

These are just a few of the rules at play.  State law may provide even more stringent requirements.  An experienced employer rights attorney can help when management is confronting military leave issues.