If you work in Utah 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. Utah law provides similar protections.
Federal Law: USERRA
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.)
Utah 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 Utah and you need time off for service in one of these branches of the U.S. military, you are protected by USERRA.
Utah law allows members of the U.S. Armed Forces reserves who are called to active duty, active duty for training, inactive duty training, or state active duty, to take a leave of absence from work for up to five years. Once the employee is released from training or from hospitalization related to training, the employee must be reinstated to the position the employee previously held, with the seniority, status, pay, and vacation rights the employee would have had if continuously employed.
Utah also prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on their membership in the armed forces reserves.
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 Utah 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.