military service discrimination

March 20, 2023

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BY elijah "big dan" vargas

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) is the primary federal statute prohibiting employment discrimination based on past, present, or prospective military service. In addition to its anti-discrimination provision, USERRA requires employers to reemploy those who have taken military leave under designated services and governs employee benefit plans for employees on military leave.

All US public and private employers are covered under USERRA.  No employer too big or too small escapes the purview of this statute.  

The statute prohibits discrimination in Initial
Employment (hiring stage), Reemployment, Retention, Promotion, Benefits, and other Terms and Conditions of Employment. 

Individuals who believe their USERRA rights have been violated may file a lawsuit against their employer to assert their rights. For lawsuits against private employers, the individual may file the lawsuit in the appropriate US district court.  There is no requirement that plaintiffs exhaust administrative remedies before filing suit.

Individuals may seek monetary damages for lost wages and benefits, liquidated damages in the amount equal to lost wages and benefits, as well as equitable relief such as reinstatement. 

There is no statute of limitations for USERRA administrative complaints or lawsuits for claims that accrue after October 10, 2008.  The statute of limitations for pre-2008 claims is tolled during the period of a servicemember's military service.

If you believe you have been discriminated against based on your past, present, or prospective military service, don't hesitate to give Big Dan a call.