Can I Be Fired for Joining the Military?
For parents and individuals who are going into the military, or are currently enrolled in the military, there may be fears or worries about whether or not they will have their job when they return, or whether or not their employer can terminate their position or their employment status while they are away on military duties. It is important to note that wrongful termination law (NYC and federal laws), protect United States military members. The following considers what you need to know about serving in the military and your right to work:
Employers Are Required to Provide Military Leave to Employees
Federal military leave laws mandate that employers provide military leave to their employees. This is true for employees who are on active or inactive duty in the National Guard or as a Reserve of the Armed Forces. According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, “Any fulltime Federal civilian employee whose appointment is not limited to one year is entitled to military leave. Military leave…is prorated for part-time career employees and employees on an uncommon tour of duty.” Keep in mind that leave does not have to be paid; typically only public employees are eligible for paid leave. However, an employer may only charge military leave for hours that the employee would have otherwise been paid for their work.
It is also important to note that employees who return from military leave must be reinstated to the same position that they had prior to taking leave.
The Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)
The USERRA is one of the most important labor laws in the United States, as it protects military members and veterans from discrimination based on their military service. To be sure, the law states that those who serve their country are entitled to retain their civil employment and benefit status (discussed above), and that these persons can seek employment that is free from any discrimination based on their employment status. In fact, the law even applies to those who are disabled, requiring that employers take reasonable steps to accommodate a veteran with a disability.
Your Rights Under the Law
Serving the country through military service is a very honorable thing to do, and fear of retaliation, termination, or discrimination in the workplace should not prevent a person from joining the military. If you believe that you have been discriminated against, if your right to military leave has been denied, or if you have returned from military service only to find that your position at your place of employment was no longer available for you, you should report the labor violation and contact an experienced wrongful termination attorney. NYC citizens, as well as those throughout the country, deserve the best representation when their rights under the USERRA are violated. At the offices of Ricotta & Marks, P.C., we will advocate for you! Contact us today for your free consultation.