Reinstatement Law and Legal Definition

Reinstatement, in employment law, refers to placing a worker back in a job he has lost without loss of seniority or other job benefits. Usually ordered by an agency, such as the National Labor Relations Board, or judicial authority, together with back pay, as a remedy in discrimination cases.

In the context of disability leaves, the law requires active efforts to reinstate an injured employee and imposes a corresponding duty on employees to accept reasonable offers. The employee should be returned to the same job or one that is "substantially" similar. However, if you have a disability that prevents you from doing your job with or without a reasonable accomodation, the employer may be able to reassign or terminate you.

Reinstatement is available for those who have held a federal career or career-conditional appointment at some time in the past. However, eligibility for reinststement does not guaranteee a job offer. Reinstatement allows you to reenter the federal competitive service workforce without competing with the public in a civil service examination. You may apply for any open civil service examination, but reinstatement eligibility also enables you to apply for federal jobs open only to status candidates. There is no time limit on reinstatement eligibility for those who:

  • Have veterans' preference, or
  • Acquired career tenure by completing 3 years of substantially continuous creditable service.

If you do not have veterans' preference or did not acquire career tenure, you may be reinstated within 3 years after the date of your separation. Reinstatement eligibility may be extended by certain activities that occur during the 3-year period after separation from your last career or career-conditional appointment.

Under the Family Medical Leave Act, in most cases, the employee must be allowed to return to the same or equivalent position. There are exceptions for salaried employees, among the highest paid 10 percent of the staff within 75 miles of the worksite, and when substantial economic harm would result to the employer from reinstatement.

Reinstatement is used in other contexts, but refers generally to the restoration of a position, ruling, or privilege previously removed. For example, local drivers' bureaus manage administrative rules governing the reinstatement of driver licenses which are revoked for driving violations.