Veteran or service member rights

You have the right to be treated fairly as a veteran or service member.

Two federal laws prohibit discrimination in employment based on your status as a veteran or service member. Under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA), you’re protected from discrimination based on your prior service in the uniformed services; current service in the uniformed services; or intent to join the uniformed services. This is regardless of whether your employer is a private employer, the federal government, a state government, or local government. You may also be protected against discrimination under the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA). If you are an employee of a federal contractor or subcontractor and meet the definition of a “protected veteran.” Additionally, under both laws, your employer is also prohibited from retaliating against you because of your attempt to enforce your rights or someone else’s rights.

For example, your current or any future employer cannot:

  • terminate you,
  • fail to promote you,
  • fail to hire you,
  • fail to reemploy you, or
  • fail to give you benefits that others received either while you were at work or while you were deployed

because you are a veteran or service member.


Need more information?
The elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisors are a set of online tools developed by the U.S. Department of Labor to help employees and employers understand their rights and responsibilities under Federal employment laws.