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Employment Laws that Protect Veterans and Members of the Military

By Lane V. Erickson, Attorney

Federal law has made an effort to protect those who serve in our Armed Forces. Particularly, federal law concerning the employment of members of the military provides protections above those normally given to regular employees.

According to the Federal Department of Labor:

The employment rights of individuals who voluntarily or involuntarily leave employment positions to undertake military service are protected under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA). USERRA is intended to minimize the disadvantages to an individual that occur when that person needs to be absent from his or her civilian employment to serve in the United States uniformed services. The Act applies to persons who perform duty, voluntarily or involuntarily, in the “uniformed services,” which include the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Public Health Service commissioned corps, as well as the reserve components of each of these services. Generally, the pre-service employer must reemploy service members returning from a period of service in the uniformed services.

Questions sometimes arise over which members of the military are actually covered by the USERRA.  To answer these questions the Federal Department of Labor has stated:

Uniformed service includes active duty, active duty for training, inactive duty training (such as drills), initial active duty training, and funeral honors duty performed by National Guard and reserve members, as well as the period for which a person is absent from a position of employment for the purpose of an examination to determine fitness to perform any such duty. USERRA covers nearly all employees, including part-time and probationary employees. USERRA applies to virtually all U.S. employers, regardless of size.

USERRA Does much more than simply provide an opportunity for a returning veteran to get his job back.  USERRA and some other equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws prohibit discrimination in employment decisions, such as termination, on the basis of veteran status.  USERRA specifically prohibits employers from discriminating against past and present members of the uniformed services and applicants to the uniformed services.

Additionally, under laws enforced by the federal Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), qualified special disabled veterans, Vietnam era veterans, recently separated veterans, and veterans who served on active duty during a war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized, are also protected against discrimination.

If you are an employer or employee who recently served in the military, and you have questions about the federal laws that protect veterans and members of the military, we can help.  Call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a consultation with Lane Erickson and the Racine Olson team of Employment Law attorneys in Idaho. You can also email Lane Erickson directly at  We will answer your Idaho Employment Law questions and will help you solve your Idaho Employment Law problems.


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