There was an interesting piece on “60 Minutes” tonight about military reservists having a tough time getting back their old employment positions after having served on active duty, despite a law (called USERRA) requiring employers to reinstate these employees in their old positions after they return from active duty.
Members of the National Guard and the Reserves serve on active duty when they are called by their government to do so, taking huge personal risks and often making great sacrifices to do so. Shouldn’t employers do their part by making some sacrifices as well, particularly when the law requires them to do so? Tonight’s report pointed out that some of America’s largest employers have faced lawsuits for alleged USERRA violations, naming UPS, Wal-Mart and American Airlines as examples.
One employer interviewed for the report pointed out that the military was essentially shifting costs to private employers by putting more and more reservists on active duty. The cost-shifting point is valid, but this is a sacrifice employers must be willing to make.
For more discussion of USERRA:
The Ohio Employer’s Law Blog has a good overview of the right to re-employment under USERRA.
The Workplace Prof Blog highlights a recent USERRA case holding that an employee who claims that his re-employment rights were violated under USERRA does not need to prove discrimination similar to a traditional employment discrimination case (such as one based on sex or race). And the blog points out that we are likely to see a rise in these cases.
At law.com, there’s a discussion of whether agreements to arbitrate USERRA claims are enforceable, concluding that there are differences of opinion in the courts on this issue. A recent case description on the arbitrability of USERRA claims is over at the LawMemo Arbitration Blog.
The recent case law on arbitration clauses affecting USERRA as well as discussion of a case involving a state as the employer (holding that federal courts don’t have jurisdiction in this type of case) are discussed at Jottings By An Employer’s Lawyer.
A U.S. Dept. of Labor elaws Advisor on USERRA can be found here.