President Bush's military call-up has raised questions about the obligations that private employers owe to employees who are in military service. This memorandum reviews the requirements that the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) imposes on all private employers.
USERRA applies to a broad category of National Guard members and reservists on active duty who are in the "service." Briefly, the Act prohibits discrimination against service members in hiring and governs the procedure under which a veteran applies for reemployment after completing duty. The Act also generally requires that a veteran’s position of employment, as well as the rights and benefits of employment based on seniority, reflect his or her time in service. USERRA also extends to veterans certain protections from termination without cause and certain rights to employers’ health and retirement benefits plans.
This analysis provides a detailed section-by-section analysis describing the rights and responsibilities that apply to private employers and service members under USERRA.
In December 2003, Congress passed legislation titled the Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act, that provides new protections to a wide range of military personnel, including reservists.