Military man reemployed
In response to the October 2004 Human Side column, the advice provided in the “Military man reemployed at his own request” scenario is not entirely correct. The former employee is not entitled to reemployment, but not for the stated reason that the veteran’s reemployment law “doesn’t apply to people who voluntarily opt to quit their jobs to seek a military career.”
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 applies to both voluntary and involuntary military service. There are five criteria to determine a veteran’s eligibility for reemployment protection. The veteran:
a. must hold or have applied for a civilian job. (Note: Jobs that employers can show to be held for a brief, nonrecurrent period with no reasonable expectation of continuing for a significant period do not qualify for protection)
b. must have given written or verbal notice to the civilian employer prior to leaving the job for military training or service, except when precluded by military necessity
c. must not have exceeded the 5-year cumulative limit on periods of service
d. must have been released from service under conditions other than dishonorable
e. must report back to the civilian job in a timely manner or submit a timely application for reemployment (the time limit varies from 1 to 90 days depending on the length of absence)
The employee in this case does not meet the criteria and is not eligible for reemployment because his absence exceeded 5 years. Had he been discharged before this time, however, he would have been eligible under USERRA for reemployment regardless of the reason why he left to join the military. Note that there are some exceptions to this rule that could extend the allowable absence past 5 years.
As a Reserve officer and civilian manager, I want to ensure all employers understand their responsibilities as well as their rights under USERRA. It is particularly important in today’s environment of frequent Reserve & National Guard callups.