Can You Get Fired for Military Leave: Understanding Your Rights and Protections

Explore your rights and protections against job termination while on military leave. Waltman Employment Law guides you through USERRA regulations and how we can help.

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Many people in the military worry about losing their civilian jobs when they return from service. Is it possible for someone who protects our country to lose their job during military leave? The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) is a federal law that protects service members’ employment rights. It guarantees that those who serve won’t lose their job, benefits, or face discrimination when they come back.

USERRA is complex and raises many questions for both employers and employees. How does it change the relationship between a service member and their employer? At Waltman Employment Law, we work to explain these laws clearly. We want service members to know their rights and ensure employers respect their commitment as much as we respect our clients’ dedication to our country.

Understanding Military Leave and USERRA

Service in the armed forces shouldn’t undermine job security. Military leave is designed to ensure that individuals who serve or have served in the armed forces, reserves, National Guard, or other uniformed services are granted the right to return to civilian employment unscathed by their commitment to national defense.

We understand that balancing civilian careers and military duty can be complex. Fortunately, federal laws protect your civilian job and career when you’re called to serve. Under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), employers are required to provide you with military leave.

Key Provisions of USERRA:

  • Job Protection: Ensuring your job or a comparable one is available upon your return.
  • Health Insurance: Extending health plan coverage for you and your dependents.
  • Accrued Benefits: Accumulation of seniority and pension benefits.

Military leave is often misunderstood, leading to unnecessary anxiety regarding job security. With our professional insight, we bring clarity to this critical subject, recognizing the sacrifices made by military personnel and their families. Employers are legally obligated to support their staff who are devoted to serving our country, and our commitment to your rights in the workplace is unwavering.


  • Your civilian career should not be disadvantaged by military service.
  • Understanding your rights can ensure your peace of mind when you serve.

By recognizing the importance of your USERRA rights as an employee, we stand together in support of those who serve. It’s not just a matter of legal compliance—it embodies the respect and value we place on our service members’ contribution to our nation’s security.

Can You Get Fired for Military Leave?

Can you lose your job because of military leave? USSERA is clear: your civilian job is protected when you serve in the armed forces. USERRA ensures that employers cannot fire you because of your military duties.

Some might not realize that USERRA also requires employers to give up to five years of leave for military service, and when you return, you should get your job back with the same status, seniority, and pay as if you never left.

Can employers find ways around these protections? Not really. USERRA stops employers from firing you for anything related to your military service. They also must try to accommodate any disabilities you might have from your service.

While USERRA provides strong protections, there are still situations where you could lose your job, like if it’s unrelated to your military service or due to business reasons like layoffs.

If you’re worried about military leave and your job, talking to legal professionals, like an ADA attorney, can help you understand your rights and responsibilities better. It’s important for both employees and employers to navigate military obligations and workplace fairness with clarity.

Rights and Protections Under USERRA

USERRA is a safeguard for service members’ employment and reemployment rights.

Reemployment Rights

Particularly, USERRA entitles individuals to be reemployed in their civilian job after returning from duty with the same seniority, status, and pay, as well as any other rights and benefits determined by seniority. Reemployment is contingent upon the following conditions:

  • The individual must have left a civilian job for service in the uniformed services.
  • Notice was given to the employer prior to leaving for military duty.
  • The cumulative period of service must not exceed five years.
  • The service member must return to work or apply for reemployment in a timely manner.

Protection Against Discrimination

Discrimination on the basis of past, present, or future military service is prohibited under USERRA. This protection covers:

  • Initial employment
  • Reemployment
  • Retention in employment
  • Promotion
  • Any benefit of employment

Health Insurance Protection

During military leave, service members have the option to continue employer-based health plan coverage for themselves and their dependents for up to 24 months. If they choose not to continue coverage during their service, upon reemployment, they must be reinstated in the employer’s health plan without any waiting period or exclusions except for service-related illnesses or injuries.

Preparing for Military Leave: Tips and Best Practices

Before embarking on military leave, take preemptive steps to ensure a seamless transition:

  • Notify your employer as soon as possible.
  • Review your employer’s military leave policies.
  • Keep a copy of your military orders or other documentation of military duty.
  • Understand the requirements and timelines for returning to work after military service.

By recognizing your rights and protections under USERRA, we stand prepared and informed, making certain that service to your country does not come at the expense of your civilian career.

How Waltman Employment Law Can Help You

At Waltman Employment Law, we’re dedicated to helping people understand and protect their rights regarding military leave. We’re here to assist with legal matters related to military service, including explaining the protections under USERRA and other relevant laws. If you’re facing wrongful termination or other issues after returning from deployment, we can represent you and fight against unfair treatment. 

With a track record of successful advocacy, we’re ready to stand by your side and provide professional support during this challenging time. If you need guidance from an employment lawyer regarding military leave, reach out to Waltman Employment Law for steadfast assistance and professional advice.