If you work in North Dakota and serve in the state or National Guard or reserves, you might have to leave your private sector job for military service. If you are called to active duty, you might be absent from your civilian job for months. But while you are gone, a federal law called the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) protects your job. North Dakota law provides additional protections for employees who must miss work to respond to a disaster or emergency.
USERRA, a federal law, 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, too. 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.)
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 North Dakota and you need time off for service in one of these branches of the U.S. military, you are protected by USERRA.
North Dakota law also protects those who need leave for state duty. Employers may not terminate, demote, or otherwise discriminate against volunteer members of the North Dakota army national guard or North Dakota air national guard, or volunteer civilian members of the civil air patrol. The employer must allow such employees to be absent or tardy from work for up to 20 days in a calendar year because they are responding to a disaster or national emergency. (This 20-day limit does not apply to involuntarily activated members of the state National Guard.) An employee who needs this leave must make a reasonable effort to notify the employer. Upon request, the employee must also provide written verification of the dates and times of service.
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 North Dakota 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.