Q: I am a military reservist and also a full-time civilian federal employee. I am hoping to advance in my civil service career, and hope to be promoted. However, my manager has made several comments that I might be deployed in the near future. There has been no indication that I will be deployed, and I worry that my status as a reservist is being used to inhibit my career progression. How can I be sure that I am treated fairly?
A: As a subordinate, it is difficult to ensure that you are treated fairly – how you are treated is largely in the hands of your managers. However, the law does curtail some types of mistreatment by managers, including some mistreatment based on your status as a military reservist.
Your manager should be aware of your rights under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (“USERRA”). This includes the right to be free of discrimination on account of your military service. If you have reason to believe that your USERRA rights have been violated, you can contact the Department of Labor to seek advice and, if necessary, file a complaint.
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