It is illegal for any employer to deny initial employment, reemployment, retention in employment, promotion, or any benefit of employment to a person who is a member of, applies to perform, or has an obligation to perform service in a uniformed military service of the United States, including the National Guard. Veterans believing they were discriminated on the basis of their status as Veterans should report any complaints to the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD).
Furthermore, under federal legislation know as Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) or (Chapter 43 of Title 38, U.S. Code) enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS), Servicemembers are entitled to return to their civilian public or private employment with the seniority, status, and pay they would have attained had they been continuously employed if they meet certain criteria. In particular, the law:
- Expands the anti-discrimination protection of Reserve and Guard members in hiring, retention, and advancement on the basis of their military obligation;
- Requires employers to make reasonable efforts to retrain or upgrade skills to qualify workers for reemployment; Expands healthcare and employee benefit pension plan coverage; Extends the number of years an individual may be absent for military duty; Improves the protections for disabled Veterans and improves enforcement mechanisms for servicemembers who believe their reemployment rights have been violated.
- Servicemembers are required to give advance notice of their service obligation to employers unless military necessity makes this impossible. Notice must be given to employers of intent to return to employment under a set of guidelines based on the length of time absent from the job.