Employees in Montana who are also members of the state or National Guard or reserves might have to leave their regular civilian jobs for military service. If you are called to active duty, you might be absent from your private sector job for months. But while you are gone, a federal law called the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) protects your job. Montana law also provides employment protections.
Federal Law: 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, 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.)
Montana Laws 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 Montana and you need time off for service in one of these branches of the military, you are protected by USERRA.
Montana law protects employees and applicants from discrimination based on their membership in the state organized militia. Employers may not threaten employees in an effort to dissuade them from enlisting.
Under Montana law, employees who are ordered to federally funded military service are entitled to all rights available under USERRA. Members of the state organized militia who are called to state active duty during a state-declared disaster or emergency are entitled to time off for the duration of their service. This time off may not be deducted from sick leave, vacation, or other paid time off, although employees may voluntarily opt to use paid time off. Once an employee’s state military service is complete, the employee must be reinstated, with the same seniority, status, pay, health insurance, pension, and other benefits.
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 Montana 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.