The military conflict in Kosovo, especially in light of the activation of military reservists and the specter of NATO occupation forces, has raised significant issues for many employers about military leaves of absence and the re-employment rights of individuals who have served in the uniformed services. A final resolution to the conflict and the return of reservists will require management-side labor attorneys to provide advice and guidance to their clients on how to comply with applicable state and federal laws upon the return of these servicepeople to the workforce.

In 1940, Congress enacted the Selective Training and Service Act. This original legislation has since been amended and renamed a number of times. For the greater part of their existence, the laws that provide employment protection to veterans and military reservists have been collectively referred to as the Veteran’s Reemployment Rights Act, formerly 43 U.S.C. 2021 et seq. It was amended as part of the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, and the return of forces from the Gulf War prompted further legislative initiatives in 1994. These initiatives ultimately produced the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). [FOOTNOTE 1]