If you are a drilling reservist, you may have run into an employer or supervisor that was more than happy to hire you because of your military experience, but are not a fan of your absence from the workplace when you activate to drill.
If you have the privilege of employing a U. S. military veteran, then you know you have recruited from one of the best trained, motivated, dedicated professional, candidate pools available. Veterans have the basics, literally, nailed down for being successful at any organization. They know how to follow directions, grooming standards, policies and procedures. They know how to be a member of a team. They know the value of showing up to work and working because where they came from prior to their new civilian career, not showing up could literally be a matter of life or death. If you have a reservist/National Guardsman working for you, then you have someone that is receiving critical training and experience that can be applied to your workplace, free of charge to you the employer! Military drills consist of readiness training that includes physical fitness, professional development, and critical human resources training such as sexual harassment/hostile workplace environment prevention. These brave men and women citizen volunteers are working in diverse workplaces with exposure to many cultures (both foreign and domestic), making them even more adaptive to your successful business models. Many have security clearances that exceed anything a civilian employee in the standard U. S. workforce could ever qualify to obtain. The benefits clearly outweigh any temporary inconvenience while they are absent from your workplace in order to defend your way of life.
If you are a drilling reservist, you may have run into an employer or supervisor that was more than happy to hire you because of your military experience, but are not a fan of your absence from the workplace when you activate to drill. These short sighted individuals have lost the “big picture” of the benefits attached to your drills and active duty deployments. Worse, many are not aware of your rights under The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). USERRA is a follow up to the Veterans Reemployment Rights (VRR). The Soldier and Sailors Civil Relief Act (SSCRA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) go further to protect our service members and is used in conjunction with USERRA. Congress provided clear protection for all members of the uniformed services (including non-career National Guard and Reserve members, as well as active duty personnel). On October 13, 1994, Congress enacted Pub. Law 103-353, The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), Chapter 43 of Title 38, U.S. code.
It is FEDERAL LAW. No law, policy, practices, etc. that would diminish the rights established in USERRA will take precedence over the provisions of USERRA. In contrast, USERRA does not supersede, nullify, or diminish any federal or state law, or company policy, union agreement, practice or contract that provides greater rights or benefits to service members.
Some of the most common violations by employers against these heroes as of late pertain to:
· An employee no longer requests permission to be absent for military leave but rather provides notification of pending military service.
· There is no longer any differentiation between voluntary and involuntary service.
· An employee cannot be required to use earned vacation or similar leave days for military leave of absence.
· Military service will not be counted as time away from the employer for retirement purposes (Federal employees should review the Code of Federal Regulations, series 5 CFR 353.201-210 for details related to their employment).
The Department of Labor is the enforcement authority for USERRA, and it processes all formal complaints of violations of the law.
If you are an employer and have questions about these regulations, we have a helpful link from the U. S. Department of Justice for your review. If you need guidance or compliance assistance, please visit https://www.dol.gov/vets/programs/userra/index.htm
If you are a drilling reservist/guardsmen that has been discriminated against, visit https://www.dol.gov/vets/programs/userra/index.htm to file your complaint and to learn more about your rights.
Employers, thank you for giving these heroes another opportunity to serve.
Veterans, THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!
-Aegis of Alaska