Veterans Have a Right to Reemployment after Deployment
In the United States, and in Oregon, "At Will" employment is
the rule of the day unless you happen to make up part of the 9% of the
American workforce who are members of labor unions.
Unlike unionized employees, "At Will" employment means you may
be terminated from your job
without cause as long as it's not for a discriminatory reason like being a member
of a protected class of persons.
Most of us are familiar with the basic groups that are considered protected
classes for purposes of employment discrimination. For instance, an employer
cannot terminate you because of your race, sexual orientation, age or
But many people may not know that service in the armed forces is also a
protected class for purposes of employment discrimination. As the Oregon
Department of Justice recently stated on their website:
It is unlawful to discriminate against service members in the workplace.
Whether you have decided to enlist, are on active duty or have served
in the past, if an employer denies you employment, retention in employment,
promotion or accrued seniority or benefits because of your association
with uniformed service, it may be employment discrimination.
Furthermore, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights
Act (USERRA) provides that service members who left civilian jobs for
military deployments have the right to return the same seniority, status,
pay, and other rights and benefits, including promotions based on seniority,
they would have had, if not for their military absence.
USERRA also bestows upon some service members an exception to at-will employment.
This means that many service members returning to their civilian jobs
after a deployment may only be terminated for just cause. Depending on
the length of service leave, USERRA prohibits an employer from terminating
an employee following reemployment except for "just cause,"
even if the employee is otherwise an at-will employee. If a service member
is returning from a military service of 31-180 days the service member
is entitled to a just cause termination for a period of six months following
reemployment. Periods of service or deployment greater than 180 days require
just cause for termination for a period of one year following reemployment.
If you are an active or former service member with questions about your
employment rights under USERRA or otherwise, contact an employment discrimination
Angel Law, P.C..