Military service members face a number of challenges, not the least of which is reacclimating to civilian life and reentering the workforce. When they do, it is not uncommon to face employment discrimination, even though military service discrimination is prohibited under local, state and federal laws. If you have been treated unfairly at work because of your military service, denied a job because you chose to serve the country, or were fired because of reserve duties, the discrimination attorneys at Lipsky Lowe LLP can help. Well-versed in the applicable laws that prohibit military service discrimination, we will honor your service by being the strength in your corner.
What is military service discrimination?
Under local, state and federal law, including the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA), the New York State and New York City Human Rights Laws, it is illegal to discriminate against military servicemembers.
In particular, employers are prohibited from firing, refusing to hire, or denying employment benefits to an employee because of his or her membership, application for membership, performance of service, application for service, or obligation for service in any branch of the U.S. Armed Services.
What are legal rights in the workforce as a military service member?
USERRA not only prohibits discrimination with respect to any employment decision, but this federal law also requires reemployment of service members once they are discharged and also prohibits discrimination based on past, current and future military obligations.
Moreover, under USERRA, an employer is required to provide a previously employed military servicemember with the same or substantially similar job, and the same seniority and benefits that would have accrued had that individual not left for active duty. The period of absence generally must not exceed 5 years, however, and advance notice must be provided to the employer. It is not necessary to provide the exact position if it would have been subject to a termination, layoff or pay cut, however, regardless of whether the employee left for duty or not.
An employer must also make reasonable efforts to train or retrain a returning servicemember,
USERRA also provides a military service member who goes on active or reservist duty with uninterrupted health care coverage (for up to 30 days), as well as an accrual of benefits and vesting of pension plans for the duration of any armed services obligation. USERRA also requires employers to accommodate service members who suffer from disabilities resulting from their service that are broader than the right to a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Finally, USERRA prohibits discrimination against a military service member for exercising any legally protected right, including the right to file a discrimination complaint. This means that an employer cannot retaliate against an employee who files a complaint under USERRA, testifies in a USERRA proceeding, or participates in a USERRA investigation.
In addition to federal protections, the New York Human Rights Law also prohibits employment discrimination based on military status. Moreover, under the New York City Human Right Law, it is unlawful to represent that a position is not available when it is, in fact, available, refuse to hire or employ military service member or discriminate in compensation or in the terms, conditions or privileges of employment.
Contact Our New York City Military Service Discrimination Attorney
At Lipsky Lowe, we believe that individuals who serve the country deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Unfortunately, some employers have preconceived notions about military service members, particularly those who may have been wounded in combat or suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In addition, employers may not be aware of the legal protections afforded to individuals who return from their military obligations
If you have been subjected to illegal discrimination, harassment, or retaliation due to your protected status as a member of the armed services, our legal team will take the time to explain you rights and fight for the compensation you deserve. Depending on the circumstances, you may be entitled to reinstatement, lost wages or benefits, liquidated damages (equal to lost wages and benefits for willful violations) attorney fees, and legal costs. Now that you have served the country valiantly, we are here to serve you. Please contact our office today for a free evaluation of your case.