Indiana employees who are also members of the state or National Guard or reserves have two jobs: a position in the private sector and military service. If you are called to active duty, you might be absent from your civilian job for months. But while you are gone, federal and state laws protect your job rights.
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)
USERRA is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against employees who are in the U.S. Armed Forces, have served in the military, or take leave to serve in the military.
USERRA provides valuable additional protections as well. It requires employers to reinstate employees who take up to five years off for military service, with all of the promotions, raises, and other benefits they would have received had they worked through their time off. And, it prohibits employers from firing employees without cause for up to one year after they return from service. (For more information on USERRA, see Taking Military Leave.)
Indiana Laws Protecting Employees on Military Leave
USERRA protects employees who serve in the United States military, including those who serve in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, Reserves, Army or Air National Guard, and Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service. If you work in Indiana and you need time off for service in one of these branches of the military, you are protected by USERRA.
Indiana law protects employees who are members of the reserves. These employees may take up to 15 days of leave per year for military training. To qualify, an employee must give notice of the training dates 90 days in advance, and must provide evidence of completion of training upon returning to work.
Indiana also imposes criminal sanctions on employers who don’t allow employees to train. It’s a misdemeanor for an employer to knowingly or intentionally refuse to allow an employee who is a member of the Indiana National Guard or the reserves, or who is retired from the military, to attend assembly for drills, instruction, encampments, maneuvers, or exercises.
If you have faced discrimination because of your military service, or you have been denied the reinstatement and other rights available to you under USERRA or Indiana law, check out servicemembers.gov, the Department of Justice's website devoted to enforcing USERRA and other laws that protect the rights of those who serve in the military. You'll also find helpful information at the website of Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve.