As a military service member, you risk your safety for your country. Therefore, you deserve respect and protection upon your return home.
If you or a loved one have experienced employment discrimination based on military status, you may be entitled to compensation. Our experienced New Jersey employment attorney can fight to protect your rights.
To learn how we can help you, contact NJ Employment Lawyers, LLC today to schedule your consultation.
You Have Rights Against Discrimination as a Military Service Member
As a military service member, your status in the military, whether past, present, or future, should never impede your ability to gain and keep a civilian job. For this reason, certain laws protect you.
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) protects military service members and veterans against employment discrimination.
Under the USERRA, employers are prohibited from refusing employment to active military personnel and veterans. Additionally, the act establishes that service members will have jobs upon their return from active duty.
As an active military member or veteran, you are afforded protections under the USERRA under the following circumstances:
- You have five years or less of service in the armed forces in your employment relationship with your employer
- Your employer receives written notice of deployment in advance
- You apply for reemployment or return to work in a “timely” manner
- You have not been dishonorably discharged from the military
Should you meet the above qualifications, you’re entitled to the following protections:
- Reemployment at your current position or one that is equivalent
- Reinstatement of your health insurance with your employer without a waiting period
- Health insurance for you and your family under your employer’s rates for up to two years
Along with protecting your ability to get and keep a job during, after, or before your military service, the act also protects active members and veterans from discrimination and harassment in the workplace based on military status.
Also, many states, including New Jersey, consider military members a protected class under state employment discrimination laws. As a result, active military members and veterans receive additional protection from discrimination, harassment, and retaliation in the workplace by employers, fellow employees, and nonemployees.
Those related to military members, including military spouses, are also afforded certain rights as a protected class.
Recognizing Military Service Discrimination in the Workplace
If you or someone you know is either an active military member or a veteran, it’s important to recognize discrimination in the workplace. Knowing the signs allows you to take action sooner to stop the discrimination.
Military service discrimination comes in all shapes and sizes. You may have experienced military service discrimination if you’ve dealt with any of the following:
- A company refusing to hire you due to your active military or veteran status
- Your employer firing you because of your active duty status
- Your employer refusing to promote veterans
- Your company denying you and your family the opportunity to participate in the company’s health insurance plan
- Your employer demoting you upon your return from active duty
- Supervisors, coworkers, clients, and customers harassing you in the workplace based on your military status
- Your company failing to pay you the appropriate salary or giving you fewer opportunities for advancement based on your military service
- Your employer treating you as “less than” even though you have the same qualifications and experience as other respected employees
If you believe you are or have been discriminated against at work due to your military or veteran status, speak to an employment attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer can review the details of your situation and determine whether you have a potential claim for damages.
Filing a Complaint for Military Service Discrimination
If you have rights under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act and your rights have been violated, you have options.
You can start by taking informal action and attempting to resolve the matter directly with your employer. However, if that doesn’t fix your issues, you can file a formal complaint with the Department of Labor.
Depending on your situation, the Department of Labor may be able to resolve the problem, but if not, you may request your case be sent to the attorney general or the Office of Special Counsel. These agencies have the power to enforce the act in federal court.
Additionally, you may have the right to file a private action depending on whether you are a federal, state, or private employee.
Let an Employment Attorney Fight for Your Rights as a Military Service Member or Veteran
Employment law cases involving military status can be particularly challenging to navigate. Fortunately, an employment attorney can represent your best interests and work toward the best possible outcome.
At NJ Employment Lawyers, LLC, our attorneys have years of experience assisting military service members who have been discriminated against in the workplace. We use our skills and resources to do whatever is necessary to protect your rights as a respected service member or veteran.
Contact our New Jersey employment attorneys to get started on your case.