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Troops Called to Duty Protected by Military Deployment Discrimination Law
Austin, Texas

Texas Workforce Commission

Date: May 14, 2018
Lisa Givens

AUSTIN ? The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) reminds individuals and employers that the employment rights of military service members who are part of recent deployments of Texas National Guard or other military deployments are protected by Texas and federal laws. These laws are designed to prevent discriminatory practices due to deployment such as withholding health or pension benefits, termination or other adverse actions affecting promotions, seniority or pay.

Laws governing the employment rights of employees on military duty include the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA), and under Texas Law, Government Code, Chapter 437, which both provide job protections from employment discrimination due to their military training or duties.

“We support our members of the military who fulfill their duties on behalf of Texas and our nation, and we work to ensure that they are thanked for their service and are supported in the workplace while they are away from their communities,” said TWC Chairman Andres Alcantar.

These troops and their employers should be aware of the requirements of Texas Government Code, Chapter 437, specifically Section 437.204, which provides protection from the following actions:

  • Termination of employment because the employee is ordered to authorized training or duty by a proper authority,
  • Failure to return employee to same employment held when ordered to authorized training or duty by a proper authority, or
  • Employee being subjected to loss of time, efficiency rating, vacation time, or any benefit of employment during or because of the military-related absence.

After Hurricane Harvey, the Texas Workforce Commission’s Civil Rights Division received complaints from nine service members alleging violations of Section 437.204, some of which were settled in favor of the military service member.

“We understand how complex the laws can be at times and how many questions employers have,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Ruth R. Hughs. “TWC will do its best to get the word out about the important rights these laws protect, so our employers have the easiest possible time complying with legal requirements. Our goal is to have the reemployment rights of all of our troops upheld after they return home.”

Employee responsibilities and best practices for the service members include:

  • Providing the employer proof of membership in the Texas military forces;
  • Immediately notifying the employer upon receipt of orders authorizing military training or duty;
  • Giving written or actual notice of intent to return to employment, as soon as practicable after release from duty; and
  • Returning to normal employment as soon as practicable after release from duty.

“We want the brave men and women who are answering their call of duty, whether in Texas or throughout the world, to also know the rights and responsibilities of both employers and employees under this state statute.” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez.  “We salute our troops and thank them for their service.”

For more information and technical assistance for both employers and employees, contact the Civil Rights Division at crdtraining@twc.state.tx.us.

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The Texas Workforce Commission is a state agency dedicated to helping Texas employers, workers and communities prosper economically. For details on TWC and the services it offers in coordination with its network of local workforce development boards, call 512-463-8942 or visit www.texasworkforce.org. To receive notifications about TWC programs and services subscribe to our email updates.

Texas Workforce Commission  512-463-8942  www.texasworkforce.org  Equal Opportunity Employer/Program
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