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Can I be fired for leaving my job to serve in the military?

The choice to serve our country is a great sacrifice, and should be met with great dignity and respect. Sadly, those who make the sacrifice to put their lives on hold and serve their country often face many difficulties returning to their regular lives, especially those who have established employment. The good news is that service members, especially Guard and Reserve members, have some special protections and rights to re-employment when there service takes them away from a job.

Under federal law, a service member who leaves a job to serve in the military is essentially on an unpaid professional leave of absence. Through the law, you are generally able to re-enter your former employment position after returning from service. There are some specific limits on how long a service member may be gone and how they may approach they re-entry into the workforce once they return.

If a service member has been gone from his or her employment for 31 days or less, then they are required to simply travel home, rest for 8 hours and then report to their job on the next regular workday. However, if the absence is greater than 31 days, but less than 181 days, the service member must re-apply for his or her position, and must do so within 14 days of his or her release from service. For those who are absent from their position for longer than 181 days, they must also re-apply for their position, but are granted 90 days to do so after their release from service. Altogether, the protections of re-employment extend up to five years.

If you are a service member who is anticipating a return to the workforce, or if you recently experienced unfair treatment after returning from service, you deserve to have your experience professionally evaluated by an experienced attorney. With the assistance of quality legal counsel, you can rest assured that your rights will be protected just as you have protected the rights of those who live and work in the Untied States.

Source: findlaw, "Military Service and Re-employment Rights," accessed Feb. 03, 2017

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