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How to Handle an Employee Who Is a Member of the Military

Author: Todd A. Newman, Schwartz Hannum PC

Note: This legal framework applies to all claims of discrimination and retaliation under USERRA, whether asserted by applicants or employees.

An employer's legal obligations to employees who are members of the military are substantial and complex. They exist from the time a job candidate submits an application and extend through the entire period of employment. These legal obligations bear on hiring, retention, discipline and discharge, administration of benefits, and all other human resources functions.

The primary source of these obligations is the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA), which applies to all public and private employers in the United States, regardless of size. However, various federal and state laws may come into play, depending on the circumstances confronting the employer. This article provides employers with a primer on how to satisfy their basic obligations under these laws to employees who are members of the military.