Thousands of veterans have returned from Afghanistan and Iraq only to be shunned when attempting to join the workforce. Some of these veterans may be discriminated against for reasons beyond their control. Veterans often have disabilities resulting from injuries sustained while in service.
In 2012, the Labor Department and Office of Special Counsel received 1,430 cases of job discrimination aimed at veterans of the National Guard and Reserve, whereas the number of cases in 2001 was 846. This means job discrimination against these two groups increased by 60 percent over the course of a decade!
Veterans have made incredible sacrifices and do not deserve to be discriminated against. Many of these people have families depending on them to make a living. Fortunately, there are laws that punish companies for discriminating against veterans.
How Can Veterans Fight Job Discrimination?
Veterans are protected against job discrimination by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) and by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These laws protect some active duty, former and reserve members of the US military. The law does not protect those who have been dishonorably discharged. Members of the military must also give their employers written or verbal notice before leaving for training or service.
The law allows members and veterans of the military to retain their jobs after returning home from duty (for a period of up to five years under some circumstances). It also protects members and veterans from discrimination. In most cases, employers are barred from denying employment, reemployment, promotions or benefits based on military service records. Under limited circumstances, employers can deny these rights.
Both the ADA and USERRA protect disabled veterans. Under most circumstances, employers are required to accommodate veterans with disabilities.
Veterans facing discrimination can contact the US Department of Labor Veterans Employment and Training Services to investigate claims. In addition, veterans can also contact a labor law attorney to pursue legal action against discriminatory employers.