For three seasons out of the year, the sky is blue. But, with Independence Day upon us, summer can have us seeing red and white on the horizon too. When we think back to the founding of our country, we remember the people who fought and died for our freedom. They were Minutemen – citizens ready at a moment’s notice to serve our country’s highest ideals.

Pride in service comes through sacrifice

As a citizen-service member of a Reserve component of your respective branch of the military, you may feel a connection to our Founding Fathers. The reasons why men and women join the military differ today, but the ideals they fight for remain the same. The bond you have with the men and women beside you is unlike any other relationship.

The pride you feel as a service member may be due to some of the sacrifices you have overcome. As a Reservist or Guardsman, you know that balancing the interests of your family, your civilian career and the military is just one of the many challenges that come with serving today.

Nearly 2,000 claims of service-related employment discrimination investigated by the federal government resulted in legal action in 2015, according to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Given the strong military presence in southern California, it is important that service members understand their rights that prevent workplace discrimination by an employer.

The civilian careers of service members are protected under the law

To combat the obstacles of service, DOL enforces the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). This law protects all members of the military including active duty, Reserve component and veterans. Under USERRA, service members are allowed up to five cumulative years of leave for military purposes including service-related illness or injury.

In 2015, the top three causes of legal action through USERAA were created by:

  • Military obligation discrimination
  • Reinstatement to employment
  • Retaliation

How do I file a USERRA claim?

Begin a claim by filing a Form 1010 with a federal or state court. As a Reserve component service member, you can enlist the help of an employment law attorney if you feel as if your employer is not lawfully accommodating your time away for duty.

As you watch out for the future of our country at both home and aboard, USERRA protects your future career prospects when you return home.