God bless those that serve and protect our country, whether active, reserve or a veteran of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard. But, there are employers that act illegally against the military men and women who dutifully serve our country. As horribly unpatriotic as this sounds, this type of discrimination occurs every day in Ohio (including Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Toledo, Youngstown, and Dayton). But, thankfully, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (“USERRA”) provides that military personnel who qualify must be given their old jobs back upon return from service and it also prohibits discrimination based on an employee’s military service.
USERRA offers those who serve our Country several important rights and protections. First, it prohibits discrimination against those who have served based on their military status for hires, promotions or any benefits.
USERRA also requires employers to re-employ returning service members if the following five conditions are met:
- The returning service member was in a civilian job;
- The returning service member must have given notice that he or she was leaving the job in order to perform uniformed service, unless notice was impossible or impractical under the circumstances;
- The period of service did not exceed five years;
- The returning service member must not have received a dishonorable or other form of punitive discharge from the service; and
- The returning service member must report back to work in a timely fashion after being discharged or submit a timely application for reemployment.
Returning service member have a greater protection than any other protected employee class because of USERRA. For six months after returning to work, an employee returning from military service of between 30 and 180 days cannot be fired by their civilian employer without cause. And, for returning employees who served for more than 180 days, their employers cannot terminate them for a full year after reemployment except for cause.
USERRA further provides that a service member returning to a job after a military leave under is entitled to the same level of seniority and job status that the service member would have obtained assuming no gap in employment for military leave. Stated more simply, your seniority still accrues even while you are serving in the service of our military.
If you are or were a military service member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard, you may have a military discrimination claim if you find yourself saying:
- My civilian job would not reemploy me when I completed my military service.
- I was fired two months after returning from military service in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard.
- My job would not let me keep my healthcare benefits while I was away for military service.
- I was forced to use my vacation time to cover my reserve training.
- I lost a promotion based on seniority while I was serving in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard.
- My boss would not give me the training I missed when I returned from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard.
- The company I work for would not give me a work accommodation after I was injured in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard.
- My manager fired me after I complained about USERRA violations.
- I want to sue for military discrimination.
- I was told that I would not be promoted because I would be away too much for reserve training.
- I was demoted after leaving for military training.
- My civilian job wrongfully fired me a few weeks after I returned from active duty in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard.
- I was fired today when I told my boss that I was being called up for active duty in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard.
Because we know that many clients are not able to afford the costs of litigation up front, we take on more cases on a contingency fee basis than most firms. Contingency fee agreements mean that the client need not pay any fee for legal services unless and until our employment attorneys recover money and/or results on your military status claim.
If you have been fired, discriminated against, demoted based on your military service, be it for the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or National Guard; or even think that you might need an employment lawyer, then it would be best to call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation. Call our Cincinnati attorneys at (513) 818-3688. Call our Cleveland attorneys at (216) 291-4744. Call our Columbus attorneys at (614) 335-4685. Call our Toledo attorneys at (419) 960-5926. If you have been wrongfully terminated or fired for any reason within one year of returning from serving in the United States Armed Forces, you may have a claim. Do not wait. Call the right attorney now. You have protected us. Let us protect you. The Spitz Law Firm and its attorneys are experienced and dedicated to protecting employees’ rights and solving employment disputes.