USERRA Discrimination Protection Explained

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Discrimination can come in many forms, even those who choose to serve their country can suffer from discrimination when it comes to hiring, or maintaining employment. USERRA provides protection from discrimination against servicemembers. The following summary defines this protection:

The Law States:

A person who is in any manner connected to the armed forces shall not be denied initial employment, reemployment, retention in employment, promotion, or any benefit of employment by an employer on the basis of that membership, application for membership, performance of service, application for service, or obligation.

This means someone who:

  • is a member of,
  • applies to be a member of,
  • performs, or has performed,
  • applies to perform,
  • or has an obligation to perform service in a uniformed service.

Types of Discrimination Covered Under USERRA

An employer may not discriminate in employment against or take any adverse employment action against any person who:

  • took action to seek enforcement of their rights under this law,
  • testified or otherwise made a statement in connection with any proceeding under this law,
  • was involved in an investigation under this law, or
  • exercised their rights under this law. 

An employer is in violation of the law if the employee's membership, application for membership, service, application for service, or obligation for service in the military is a motivating factor in the employer's action. The employer must prove that the action would have been taken anyway, without the military service.

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