If you are a member of the National Guard or Reserves, you likely have two careers: a regular job in the private sector and temporary stints in the military. If you are called to active duty, your military service could stretch out 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 protects employees who need time off from their regular jobs for military service. USERRA is one of the most protective employee rights laws on the books. It prohibits discrimination against employees who are in the military, have served in the military, or take leave to serve in the military. But it also 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.)
Arizona Military Leave Laws
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 Arizona and you need time off for service in one of these branches of the military, you are protected by USERRA.
Arizona law provides the same protections as USERRA for those in the state National Guard. Guard members who are called to active duty have the right to take leave and the right to be reinstated to their former jobs. Arizona also extends these protections to Guard members who are called to attend camps, formations, drills, or maneuvers.
Arizona law also protects employees from discrimination based on their military service. State law prohibits employers from trying to dissuade employee from enlisting in the Arizona or United States military forces by threatening economic reprisal.
If you believe you have been discriminated against because of your military service, or you have been denied the rights available to you under USERRA or Arizona state 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.