USERRA Discrimination Protection Explained

Discrimination can come in many forms, even those who choose to serve their country can suffer from discimination 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.

The following are examples of areas of discrimination covered under USERRA:

  • An employer may not discriminate in employment against or take any adverse employment action against any person because such person

    • has taken an action to enforce a protection afforded any person under this chapter,

    • has testified or otherwise made a statement in or in connection with any proceeding under this chapter,

    • has assisted or otherwise participated in an investigation under this chapter, or

    • has exercised a right provided for in this chapter. The prohibition in this subsection shall apply with respect to a person regardless of whether that person has performed service in the uniformed services.

  • An employer shall be considered to have engaged in actions prohibited:

    • if the person's membership, application for membership, service, application for service, or obligation for service in the uniformed services is a motivating factor in the employer's action, unless the employer can prove that the action would have been taken in the absence of such membership, application for membership, service, application for service, or obligation for service; or

      • if the person's action to enforce a protection afforded any person under this chapter,

      • testimony or making of a statement in or in connection with any proceeding under this chapter,

      • assistance or other participation in an investigation under this chapter, or

      • exercise of a right provided for in this chapter, is a motivating factor in the employer's action, unless the employer can prove that the action would have been taken in the absence of such person's enforcement action, testimony, statement, assistance, participation, or exercise of a right.
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