Military Leave (USERRA)
Houston employment lawyers Kalandra Wheeler, Robert J. Wiley, and Julie St. John represent Houston workers who are have been mistreated after returning home from serving their countries. They have the experience to make sure that every avenue is pursued and every rock is left unturned.
Under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (“USERRA”) employees who are active duty or veterans of the United States Armed forces have several rights that protect them from employers if they have taken military leave. Such rights include:
- If you retuned from duty injured, your employer must reasonably accommodate your disability and if necessary have additional time off front their original reinstatement date;
- You must return to your position with the same seniority level that would have if you had not left;
- If you would have been promoted to a new higher position, your employer must provide you the training to be eligible for that position; and
- Any pension plans must remain the same and for a brief period your employer must continue to provide you with health insurance.
It is important to note that you are still required to give as much advance notice as is reasonably possible. Additionally, although notice may be given either orally or in writing, it is strongly advised that written notice should be the appropriate method. The reason why is that starting a paper trail showing that you have fulfilled your obligations is always the preferred way to advance.
Furthermore, once you have returned from tour, depending on the length of your leave, you may be required to file an application for reemployment. If your leave was for more than 30 days you will have to submit your paperwork within 14 days. If you were on leave for over 180 days, you have 90 days to submit your application for reemployment. It is important to keep these deadlines in mind.
There are a variety of ways that an employer may violate the law. They may refuse to reinstate you to your former position, refuse to reinstate you after you come back from tour, they may deny your benefits. Furthermore, that may just retaliate against you for being part of the armed forces. This would include treating you unfairly, denying you a promotion, paying you less, suspending you, or interfering with other employment benefits because you took military leave.
Do not let your rights be taken away. Not only is this type of behavior illegal it is a disservice to allow these people to not give our military personal the respect they deserve.
If you feel you have been retaliated against or that your rights under USERRA have been violated by your employer, do not hesitate to contact our law firm. Generally, you will meet with an attorney to discuss your matter. If we believe a violation of the law has occurred and if you decide to hire us, we will sign a representation agreement and enforce your rights.