The U.S. is divided on several issues in this day and age, including the role of the military in our society. However, regardless of one’s views, discriminating against someone based on their military service, or lack thereof, is considered unethical at best, and under certain federal laws, outright illegal. If you believe that you have been discriminated against due to your military status, you need to understand that you have options to try and seek redress. Below is everything you need to know about USERRA & post-military employment discrimination.
Do you believe you have been discriminated against? Do not put up with this behavior. Contact the law firm of Hitchcock & Potts for assistance.
Protecting The Rights Of Soldiers & Veterans
While there are safeguards in place to ensure that both active-duty and returning military service members can manage their civilian lives, sometimes there are roadblocks. Employment is one of the areas in which service members may encounter problems, either because of an employer’s personal dislike for military members or because they may wrongly perceive that military or ex-military workers may be more difficult to manage than others.
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) was passed in 1994. It explicitly aims to protect the rights of anyone who is a member, has applied to be a member, or has at any point (or is contracted to in the future) performed service in a uniformed branch of the military. USERRA covers hiring, firing, promotion, and retention of employees, with a special eye on deployed military reserve personnel seeking to retain their civilian work. It also covers more standard actions—for example, it protects a military service member who has participated in a whistleblowing action against their employer.
USERRA Differs From Other Antidiscrimination Laws
USERRA does have a lot in common with many antidiscrimination laws, though there are a few very distinct differences. One of the most important differences is the shifting of the burden of proof. In an action under other antidiscrimination laws such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the burden of proof to establish discrimination stays with the employee. Under USERRA, the burden will shift to the employer to prove that the alleged discriminatory action would have taken place even “in the absence of such membership”—that is, that the action would have been the same even if the employee did not belong to the armed services.
It is also important to keep in mind that in some situations, USERRA can even protect someone who is not (or has not been) a member of the class it protects (that is, military service members). If another employee is retaliated against based on either a perceived membership in the military or on their participation in another employment action related to USERRA, they may be able to bring a claim in court against the employer.
Can A Charleston Employment Discrimination Lawyer Help You?
Knowing what you know now about USERRA and post-military employment discrimination, be sure to reach out to an employment discrimination lawyer at the firm of Hitchcock & Potts to better understand your options if you have been mistreated. Attorney A. Christopher Potts has handled these cases before and is happy to assist you with yours. Contact our firm today to speak to an attorney.