How should you proceed with a potential new employee that is in the military?
First of all, military status is a protected class and cannot be a factor in the selection of applicants or other terms and conditions of employment.
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act (USERRA) protects the rights of applicants and employees who serve in the uniformed military services. It is illegal for an employer to discriminate in hiring, reemployment, retention, promotion, or any benefit of employment due to a person’s military service or their intent to apply for military service.
Should you end up hiring this employee, military leaves he takes will be protected under USERRA. Employers absolutely cannot refuse to allow employees to attend deployments, scheduled drills, or annual training. A returning service member is usually entitled to reemployment in the same position that person would have been entitled to if he had remained continuously employed. Military leave time usually counts towards seniority and other time-based employment perks.
The USERRA generally does not require an employer to pay an employee who is on military leave. Employees who take an extended military leave of absence have rights under COBRA to continue benefits if they become ineligible for your plan due to an extended leave of absence.
In addition to the protected military leave, some employers offer extra time off after deployments, or other support to help their employees who serve in the armed forces. Though extended leaves may seem burdensome to an employer, employees with military service often bring extra job-related training to the employer which can be a huge benefit.
Should you have any additional questions regarding this or other employee topics, contact CyQuest today!