In recognition of the sacrifices of our uniformed service members, and
the need of reserve members and National Guard members to balance the
demands of serving their country and maintaining their jobs, the federal
government has passed laws protecting armed service members concerning
their “reemployment” rights. Called the Uniformed Services
Employment and Reemployment Act (USERRA), federal law provides that most
military personnel must be returned to their jobs when returning from
serving in the military, and it also prohibits discrimination based on
an employee’s military service.
The types of service covered by the Act include active duty, active and
inactive training, funeral honors duty, and periods of absence for the
purpose of obtaining a fitness for duty examination. The USERRA covers
nearly all employees, including part-time and probationary employees,
and it covers almost all U.S. employers, whatever their size. If you have
questions concerning veteran’s rights, and/or your right to reemployment
after serving in the military, it important to speak to a knowledgeable
Georgia veterans rights attorney right away.
A recent case found that this right is so fundamental that veterans are
entitled to get their jobs back, even if there’s potential dishonesty
on the part of the veteran. In
Petty v. Metropolitan Gov’t of Nashville & Davidson Cnty., the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals determined that it was improper to
delay a patrol sergeant’s reentry into work as a Nashville police
officer, despite questions about his honesty on a re-entry application.
According to case reports, the veteran returned from active duty and sought
reinstatement for full time employment as a police sergeant. However,
while deployed on service to the Middle East as part of the National Guard,
the sergeant was caught brewing home wine. In order to avoid a court martial,
he resigned. The charges against the veteran were dismissed, and he received
an honorable discharge. While seeking reemployment, a question included
on a personal history update asked, “During your absence, were you
arrested, charged, detained, or a suspect in any criminal or military
disciplinary action for any reason or do you have any action pending?”
The former police office answered “yes,” but did not reveal
any details of the accusation.
The police department then refused to reinstate him to his previous position.
The court of appeals found that the police department violated reinstatement
procedures under USERRA, and that the delay of re-employment violated
veterans” rights law.
USERRA’s re-employment provisions entitle returning veterans to reinstatement
without having to undergo additional screening, the court explained. It
was a violation of USERRA to impermissibly delay the officer’s reinstatement
pending an investigation into return-to-work paperwork. Further the police
officer should not have been required to participate in the screening
process at all under USERRA. Because USERRA prohibits employers from placing
“additional prerequisites” on returning veterans, the appeals
court ruled that “rescreening employees before reemploying them”
constituted a prohibited prerequisite on full re-employment.
Further even though the police department could fire the man for dishonesty
after he is reemployed, it is a violation of USERRA not to reinstate him
If you are a service member getting ready to return to work, you are thinking
about signing up for duty and are unsure of how it will affect your employment,
or you feel you have been discriminated against because of your service
contact a top
Atlanta veteran’s rights attorney at The Buckley Law Firm, LLC right away.