Call to Duty: What Every Small Business Owner Should Know About USERRA

Kirk C. Heriot, Neal Thomson, Stephanie Huneycutt Bardwell

Abstract


According to a recent article in Fortune: Small Business, many small business owners are simply not prepared for the deployment of key employees, including the owner (Sloane, 2003). Yet, 581,462 Reservists and National Guard troops have been called to active duty since the attacks on September 11, 2001. This research describes the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) and the obligations employers, especially small business owners, have to their employees. Unlike other well known labor laws, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1991 that only apply companies with over 15 employees, USERRA is applicable to all businesses. Thus, small businesses that usually find that they are exempted from many U.S. labor laws will find that they are not exempted from USERRA due to their size.


This study, using public documents and case decisions, explores the consequences of failure to understand and comply with USERRA and finds the issue is not trivial. The application is broad and the findings may be useful for small business owners, advisors, public policy officials and consultants.


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 University of Houston-Clear Lake