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Notice is Required Under the 1994 Veterans’ Act

November 9, 1998
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Related Topics: Staffing and the Law, Featured Article
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Returning veterans, under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA), must provide "reasonable notice" to employers that they want their jobs back to be entitled to reinstatement.

David McGuire, a former United Parcel Service (UPS) sales representative, returned from duty in Bosnia in 1996. When he contacted his previous supervisor requesting reinstatement, he was referred to the human resources department. Because he failed to complete a "return to work" form as required by UPS, McGuire was not reemployed, and he sued.

On appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the lower court’s summary judgment for UPS, holding that McGuire had failed to provide notice of his desire to return by following UPS’s procedure for reinstatement. The court stressed that USERRA does not require a specific form or procedure, but that each claim will be considered individually. McGuire vs. United Parcel Service, 7th Cir., No. 97-3455, 8/10/98.

Impact:
Employers do not violate veteran rights under USERRA by refusing reinstatement if reasonable notice of the desire to return is lacking.

Source: D. Diane Hatch, a San Francisco HR consultant, and James E. Hall, an attorney with Barlow, Kobata & Denis (based in Los Angeles and Chicago).

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