Lisa Cassilly and Matthew Gilligan were quoted in the March 4 Employment Law 360.com article titled, “EEOC Clarifies Tough Veteran Employment Protections.” The article discusses the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) requirements increase since U.S. troop deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2002, and the guidelines recently released by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission that highlight an employee’s rights after military service.
Cassilly commented, “It has been a learning curve for employers, since we haven’t had this kind of mobilization in so many years.” She also said, “One thing that is challenging for employers is to be mindful of USERRA. The employer has to employ a returning veteran, even if there has been a reduction in force or if the employer has reorganized and the veteran’s position does not exist anymore.”
Gilligan noted that, “Initially, when the first disabled veterans came back, employers treated them as they would any disabled employee under the Americans with Disabilities Act.” Cassilly added that “USERRA goes beyond the ADA [requirements]” and that most employers are aware of the added protections available to disabled veterans, but they may not be familiar with the differences between the ADA and the USERRA.
Gilligan also said, “USERRA effectively trumps collective bargaining agreements,” and pointed out that employers would often, “…get it wrong, so there was some rough going in the initial phases. They quickly learned that these are not ADA cases.”