Federal law prohibits discrimination and/or retaliation based on service in the military. The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), prohibits employers from discrimination/retaliation on the basis of a person’s military status, and provides that military members cannot be denied initial employment, reemployment, retention of employment, promotion, or any benefits of employment because of any military obligation.
Significantly, USERRA provides reemployment protection and other benefits for military members returning to his or her civilian job after military service. That is, an employer may not terminate, demote or otherwise eliminate the soldier’s position as a result of his/her military service. Further, an employer must offer the service member/reservist the same position, salary, promotion, benefits, etc., the soldier would have attained had she/he not been absent for military duty.
A successful claimant may be awarded lost wages, liquidated damages in an amount equal to lost wages where the employer’s action was willful, reasonable attorney fees, expert witness fees, and other litigation expenses.