Military lawyers represent uniformed service members under military law and the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) while civilian lawyers represent uniformed service members under the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-Employment Rights Act (USERRA).
Although both advocate for the rights of uniformed service members, military lawyers and civilian lawyers each focus on a particular area of the law.
Military Lawyers vs. Civilian Lawyers
As with most specialized occupations, every lawyer practices a specific type of law. If you’re dealing with employment discrimination, you’ll want an employment lawyer on your case, not a corporate lawyer or a work injury lawyer. The same is true for representing uniformed service members.
Military lawyers represent uniformed service members who are down range and dealing with the unique aspects of military law. These lawyers are generally Judge Advocate General (JAG) officers and work within the UCMJ.
If you are dealing with a legal issue relating to your military service such as an Article 15 or 32, or any other situation arising under the UCMJ, a JAG officer will prosecute or defend your rights under the law. JAG officers are well versed in military law as it applies to uniformed service members’ military lives.
Civilian lawyers represent uniformed service members on the home front, specifically when a uniformed service member suffers employment discrimination in their civilian employment on account of their military service.
If you are dealing with a legal issue relating to your civilian work because of your military service, a civilian lawyer will prosecute and defend your rights under the law. Civilian lawyers are well versed in military law as it applies to uniformed service members’ civilian lives. Since each type of lawyer deals primarily with laws that are different, though similar, a civilian lawyer is necessary to best preserve your civilian employment rights.
What Cases Do Civilian Lawyers Represent?
Civilian lawyers represent soldiers who encounter difficulties with employment discrimination from a civilian employer. This can include a service member being terminated because of a deployment, a service member not being hired because of plans to join the military and everything in between. These rights are secured to everyone under USERRA, which prohibits an employer from taking an employment action against anyone because of possible military obligations.
A civilian lawyer works with those wanting to secure their civilian employment, whether returning or preparing for deployment. A civilian lawyer can also defend the rights of someone who is planning to join the military from losing their civilian employment. When an employer violates the rights of a uniformed service member in those ways, they can be prosecuted by a civilian attorney under the USERRA.
While civilian lawyers sometimes do represent soldiers through the UCMJ process, their focus is protecting your rights here at home. We keep Jody away from your job.
6 Reasons To Hire A Civilian Lawyer
1. You’ve experienced employment discrimination.
Civilian lawyers fight employment discrimination. Unfortunately, many veterans and uniformed service members face employment discrimination because they have chosen to serve, protect, and guard the United States. However, USERRA specifically provides for uniformed service members who choose to hold civilian jobs.
2. A possible employer didn’t hire you due to your service.
When a veteran or uniformed service member is qualified in every way for a position and he or she is not hired due to uniformed service, this potential employer can be sued. Employers cannot hire or fire based on your status in the United States uniformed services. It is unlawful.
3. Your job is not reinstated on your return.
As a uniformed service member, you are entitled to return to your civilian job when your duties to the country have been completed. Your employer is required to reinstate you to your old job or another job equal in every way with your old position. To not receive your job upon your return is illegal.
4. A promotion was withheld.
In some cases, uniformed service members experience discrimination in the workplace where certain benefits or promotions are withheld from them. For example, if the entire department has received a pay raise, the returning uniformed service member should receive that same pay raise. If some benefit is withheld, this is unlawful under USERRA.
5. An employer retaliated against you.
Civilian military lawyers investigate complaints of retaliation. Sometimes a returning uniformed service member encounters actions from a boss or co-worker motivated by the absence of that uniformed service member. In some cases, this looks like scheduled hours being cut or clients being unequally distributed. Retaliation is illegal.
6. We seek your rights under the law.
As your civilian lawyer, winning your case is our topmost priority. We will do everything in our power to fight for your rights and argue against the complaints brought against you. We advocate for you.
If you have encountered employment discrimination, contact a lawyer who will know how to navigate your case under the law.
Kraemer, Manes & Associates LLC “KM&A” is a law firm serving all of Pennsylvania with our principal offices in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Call KM&A in western Pennsylvania at 412-626-5626 or in eastern Pennsylvania at 215-618-9185. KM&A can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.