Support Our Troops: Members of the armed forces make enormous sacrifices in order to protect our nation. “How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!” Maya Angelou proclaimed.

Join the Labor & Employment Law Section for a judicious two-day conference on March 9-10 in San Antonio, Texas where leaders in employment and labor law will present a panel on “USERRA: What Matters in Protecting Our Service Members’ Employment Rights.” Speakers include Paul A. Marone, Senior Investigator at Veterans’ Employment & Training Service and Wm. Kenan Torrans, Deputy Director, U.S. Department of Labor. Sign up on or before Jan. 27 to save with early bird registration rates!

Honor: The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) was written to protect retired military, active-duty personnel, and members of the Reserve reentering the workforce. It prohibits discrimination against members of the U.S. military and imposes various obligations on employers with respect to service members returning to their civilian workplace.

Congress enacted said laws to protect the civil rights of service members, both while they are on active duty and after they return to civilian life. These laws ensure that service members will be able to return to their civilian employment after completing their service.  Additionally, service members who have been injured during their service and return to civilian life with a new disability have civil rights guaranteed by the law.

Soldier On: Under certain conditions, USERRA requires employers to put individuals back to work in their civilian jobs after military service. If you are eligible for reemployment, you must be restored to the position and seniority based benefits that you would have attained or, in some cases, a comparable job, had you not been absent from work to perform military service.

Unfortunately, some employers have been found to violate the rights of veterans by firing them because of their military responsibilities, failing to hire them back after their service has been concluded, or denying them promotions.  In the area of reemploying a returning service member, excuses from employers may exist, such as “The position has been eliminated” or “You were part of a lay-off.” Meanwhile, there are companies that impose unduly burdensome requirements on the service member.  The Department of Labor investigates potential USERRA violations on behalf of service members.

Thank Vets: When our service members are deployed in the service of our country, they are entitled to the protections of federal law that prevent them from being subject to discrimination based upon their military obligations. An employer may not terminate you or deny you initial employment, retention in employment, promotion, or any other benefit of employment because of your status as a service member. An employer also may not retaliate against you or any other person for asserting, or assisting with the assertion of, USERRA rights. Don’t miss this meaningful panel on protecting service members’ employment rights.

Stacy Slotnick, Esq. holds a J.D., cum laude, from Touro Law Center and a B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She performs a broad range of duties as an entertainment lawyer, including drafting and negotiating contracts; addressing and litigating trademark, copyright, patent, and other IP issues; and directing the strategy and implementation of public relations, blogging, and social media campaigns.