The Catholic University of America

Summary of Federal Laws

Compliance Partners

Assoc. VP for Human Resources

Equal Opportunity Officer

Employment

Equal Employment Opportunity

Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) as amended by the Veterans Benefits Improvement Act of 2004

38 U.S.C. §§ 4301-4333

There are four main sections to this Act:

  • prohibition against unlawful discrimination;

  • reemployment rights;

  • health insurance rights; and

  • retirement plan provisions.

The definition of military service is extremely broad in the statute. The obligation for reemployment is contingent upon advance reasonable notice of the military service to the employer, an absence of less than five years, and reasonable notice at the end of the military service of availability to return to work (certain exceptions apply). The procedure to return to work is dependent upon the length of the military service. An employee can continue to participate in group health insurance at a cost of up to 102% of the premium for up to 24 months from the date the absence begins (may be sooner if returning veteran fails to reapply for job). For pension plan purposes, military service is not to be counted as a break in service. A less than honorable discharge can be the basis for denial of reemployment under this Act. A person whose employment is interrupted by a period of service in the services shall be permitted, but may not be required, to use vacation, annual or similar leaves during such period of service.

For more information see http://www.esgr.org which is the Web site for the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR). The ESGR is a volunteer organization associated with the Department of Defense and has chapters in all 50 states. It is established to educate and assist employers about their obligations and encourage compliance. The site links to their ombudsmen program that can help in resolving conflicts that may arise under this law. The organization may also be able to provide assistance in training employers about obligations under USERRA.

Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017

All Purple Heart recipients have educational benefits retroactive to service in the Armed Forces on or after Sept. 11, 2001. This new law also ends the 15 year rule for using VA benefits. 
The legislation expands full educational benefits to additional groups of veterans and their families, and removes the time limit that Post-9/11 recipients have to access their educational benefits. It also restores educational benefits to student veterans whose institutions were temporarily or permanently closed. See this one page summary for more information. 

 

Resources

Elaws DOL USERRA advisor

EEOC Guide Veterans with Service-Connected Disabilities and the ADA: A guide for Employers:
Explains the difference between USERRA and the ADA, and gives very practical advice on what can and cannot be done by employers hiring and recruiting veterans with disabilities.

 

updated 8-23-17 mlo