USERRA Protections: How To Prove Discrimination

Being a uniformed service member of the United States is one of the proudest occupations. Drills, military courtesy, and respect are the backbone of those who choose to protect and serve their country. Despite their mission to protect and specific expertise, many soldiers return from training, active duty, or a routine fitness examination to lose their civilian employment.

However, the federal government provides specifically for the USERRA protection of the employment rights of all soldiers.

Who Does USERRA Protect?

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act (USERRA) outlines particular rights for any employed individual who is currently a member of a uniformed service, has applied to be a service member, or has performed uniformed service in the past. USERRA includes individuals who voluntarily or involuntarily participate in the uniformed services, regardless of peace or war. Most importantly, this act obligates all employers to follow its USERRA protections and rights for uniformed service members.

Uniformed Services:

  • Army
  • Navy
  • Marine Corps
  • Air Force
  • Coast Guard
  • Army National Guard
  • Air National Guard
  • Public Health Service commissioned corps
  • The Reserves

How Does USERRA Protect Soldiers?

According to USERRA, no employer may take negative action against an employee for being a service member, requesting leave for active duty or training, or another uniformed service responsibility. Moreover, if a soldier leaves for active duty while employed at a civilian job, the employer is required by law to return the job, or an equivalent position, to the soldier upon return. USERRA offers a number of protections to uniformed service members.

A Quick List Of What An Employer Can’t Do Under USERRA To A Returning Uniformed Service Member

  • failure to reemploy
  • premature termination
  • denial of benefits due to uniformed service participation
  • retaliation for uniformed service participation

We also have USERRA Employer Guidelines.

How Do I Prove Employer Discrimination Under USERRA?

As we all know, discrimination can be tricky to recognize. Subtle and nuanced discrimination slides right under the radar while obvious discriminatory comments or acts offends immediately. Most businesses and employers steer clear of obvious discrimination but participate in more underhanded discrimination. Train yourself to recognize discrimination, document it, and then file a USERRA complaint.

two people looking at papers about reporting sexual harassment at work

Document all instances of discrimination

Collecting Statement Evidence

  • oral or written reviews of work that blame an employee’s uniformed service for sub-par work
  • any type of reasoning, oral or written, that justifies a demotion or reassigned work due to the chance of upcoming uniformed service responsibilities.

Collecting Circumstantial Evidence

  • inconsistencies between reasons and employer’s actions
  • outright hostility from the employer
  • time proximity between active duty and adverse employment action
  • different treatment of certain employees

As a proud uniformed service member of the United States, the law protects you from discriminatory actions from your employer motivated by your service to your country. Document all examples of interactions that prove your employer has discriminated against you and your uniform. Therefore, if you experience any type of discriminatory employment action due to your service, contact a USERRA or military lawyer.

If you have experienced or recognized discrimination in your workplace motivated by your uniformed service of the United States, contact a lawyer who will know how to navigate your case and your rights under the law.

Don’t hesitate, talk to an attorney: (412) 626-5626 or