Shane McClelland, Houston veterans lawyer, represents brave, returning servicemen and women who qualify for protection under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.
It has been our privilege to represent servicemen and women in fighting for their rights when they return home from serving our nation. The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) guarantees that you may return to your civilian job after you have completed your service at the same rate of pay and with the same benefits as if you had never left.
If you have honorably completed your service and been denied a return to your prior job or have been offered employment at a reduced salary or with lesser benefits or have lost your seniority position at your old job, your rights are protected by USERRA. You may request assistance in asserting your rights through the U.S. Department of Labor. But USERRA also gives you the right to hire your own attorney, who may bring a civil lawsuit to enforce your rights. USERRA also allows you to seek your lost wages and lost benefits, as well as compensation for your attorney’s fees and expenses in prosecuting a violation of USERRA.
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act is a law that protects the rights of our veterans from discrimination. USERRA protects the job rights of individuals who voluntarily or involuntarily leave employment positions to undertake military service or certain types of service in the National Disaster Medical System. USERRA also prohibits employers from discriminating against past and present members of the uniformed services and applicants to the uniformed services.
If you are a past or present member of the uniformed service, have applied for membership in the uniformed service or are obligated to serve in the uniformed service, you have the right to return to your civilian job if you leave that job to perform service in the uniformed service. You have a right to be reemployed in your old job with the same pay and benefits you would have attained as if you had not been absent from that job to perform your military service.
In order to be entitled to return to your civilian job, you must make sure inform your employer that you are leaving for military service and you must apply for your old job in a timely manner after you finish your uniformed service. You must also not have been dishonorably discharged from the military.
Additionally, if you are a past or present member of the uniformed service or have applied for membership in the uniformed service or are obligated to serve in the uniformed service, an employer may not deny you initial employment, reemployment, retention in employment, a promotion or any benefit of employment because of this status.
Further, it is your right to your unpaid benefits and wages resulting from such discrimination, and an employer may not retaliate against you or anyone assisting you in the enforcement of your USERRA rights, including testifying or making a statement in connection with a proceeding under USERRA, even if that person has no connection the military.
If you leave your job to perform military service, you have the right to elect to continue your existing employer-based health plan coverage for you and your dependents for up to 24 months while in the military. And even if you don’t elect to continue your health coverage during your military service, you have the right to be reinstated in your employer’s health plan when you are reemployed, generally without any waiting periods or exclusions (e.g., pre-existing condition exclusions), except for service-connected illnesses or injuries.
The U.S. Department of Labor, Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS) is authorized to investigate and resolve complaints of USERRA violations.
If you file a complaint with VETS and VETS is unable to resolve it, you may request that your case be referred to the Department of Justice or the Office of Special Counsel, as applicable, for representation.
Alternatively, you may also completely bypass the VETS process and hire an attorney to represent you in a civil action against an employer for violations of USERRA – A Houston Veterans Lawyer or USERRA Veterans Attorney from The Law Offices of Shane McClelland is here to help.