The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) establishes certain rights for employees of private employers who serve in the military. Specifically, USERRA prohibits private employers from discriminating or retaliating against employees based on their uniformed service, ensures that those employees receive certain benefits and reemployment rights, and provides limited protection from termination upon return from military leave.
Pennsylvania also has a military leave statute that offers certain protections to employees who are in the military and who are absent from work due to military leave. Other than employees of a school district or vocational school district, the mandatory leave provisions in the state law generally protect only those employees of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or of a department, board, bureau, commission, authority, agency, office, or subdivision of the Commonwealth who serve in the armed forces or the National Guard. However, Pennsylvania law affords certain protection to employees of private employers in the context of anti-discrimination and certain reemployment rights. This topic provides a summary of USERRA’s provisions, with references to Pennsylvania law where applicable.