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Protecting your job during your tour of duty

Military service personal from the National Guard and Reserves can get called to duty at a moment's notice, but this does not mean that they have to quit their day jobs. Indeed, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act requires employers to re-employ workers who had to leave their jobs temporarily to serve their country. This federal law protects military members from being discriminated against based on their military service obligations.

However, although military service members are protected by the USERRA, this does not necessarily mean that they will automatically receive such protections. It is therefore important for service members to educate themselves on the law to ensure that they receive its full protections and benefits.

For example, in order for a military person to protect his or her civilian job status, the service member must provide the employer with verbal or written notice in advance. Although the law does not specify how much notice is required, the fact is that reasonable notice must be given under the circumstances. Still, if a service member cannot give notice because he or she is called to duty in an emergency, his or her job will still be protected if the other criteria for protection are met.

What if you simply can't give notice? Say you are called up in an emergency or otherwise unable to give notice. You're still protected by USERRA, as long as all other eligibility criteria are met. In most cases, though, you will have the opportunity to notify your employer before your active duty obligation begins.

If you wish to protect your employment during a tour of duty or military assignment under USERRA, you may want to discuss your situation with a qualified military benefits attorney. Indeed, many Minnesota veterans return from war without a job, but this may not be necessary if you are protected under this law.

Source: FindLaw, "How do I Get Military Employment Protection?," accessed March 11, 2016

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