Know Your Rights

Know Your Rights

Examining Legal Documents

Starting November 18, 2017, the New York City Human Rights Law will provide new protections for current and former members of the military armed forces against discrimination in employment, housing, and places of public accommodations. Learn more about the law

The New York City Human Rights Law also protects against discriminatory lending practices, retaliation, discriminatory harassment, and bias-based profiling by law enforcement.

If you are a Veteran or Active Military Service Member who has faced discrimination because of your service status, you can file a complaint with the New York City Commission on Human Rights within one year of the last alleged act of discrimination (or three years for cases involving gender-based harassment). The alleged act of discrimination must have taken place within, or have sufficient connection to, New York City for a complaint to be filed with the Commission.

Additionally, The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) is a federal law, passed in 1994, that protects military service members and veterans from employment discrimination on the basis of their service, and allows them to regain their civilian jobs following a period of uniformed service. USERRA a​pplies to members of the Armed Forces, Reserves, National Guard, and other “Uniformed Services” (including the National Disaster Medical System and the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service). The law ensures that service members:

  1. Are not disadvantaged in their civilian careers because of their military service;
  2. Are promptly re-employed in their civilian jobs upon return from duty;
  3. Are not discriminated against by employers because of past, present, or future military service.

USERRA applies to both public and private employers. The Office of Special Counsel, in conjunction with the Department of Labor, investigates and enforces USERRA claims involving federal government employers. The Department of Labor and the Department of Justice handle USERRA claims involving private employers as well as state and local governments.

How to File a USERRA Complaint

USERRA complaints must be filed with the Department of Labor, Veterans Employment and Training Service (DOL-VETS).

If you are considering filing a USERRA complaint or simply want to learn more, OSC recommends that you first contact the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR)​​. ESGR is an agency within the Department of Defense established expressly to help resolve these kinds of issues.​