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Laws Protect Veterans from Discrimination

Veterans often face many challenges after returning from military service, including acclimating to civilian life, obtaining quality medical care, and starting and/or resuming a previous career.  Fortunately, federal laws exist which have been designed to help veterans in the workplace, including ensuring they are not victims of discrimination, and allowing federal employers to give preferential treatment to military applicants.  

Thus, in addition to Federal Law (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964) that protects against certain types of discrimination such as age, race, gender and national origin, several other laws specifically protect those workers who have served in the military. 

For example, the Uniformed Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) protects those who have served in the military from discrimination by 1) Prohibiting employers from discriminating against workers based on the past/present military service; and 2) Requiring employers reinstate employees when they return from military duty.  These protections apply to all employers, both private and governmental, regardless of size.  This law is crucial as many veterans face subtle forms of discrimination such as interview questions that ask improper questions concerning veterans’ mental health, the psychological impact of combat, or when the worker may be deployed again.  Further, pursuant to USERRA, an employer must make reasonable accommodations should an employee become disabled due to military service.

Another law that may protect service members is the Veterans Preference Act.  While this law does not contain specific provisions protecting veterans from workplace discrimination, it does allow federal employers to give a preference to hiring veterans, without being subjected to claims of bias.  These laws are designed to help veterans resume their careers after being called to duty.  

For more information, or if you believe you have faced any type of discrimination, please contact the experienced Atlanta employment discrimination attorneys at Buckley Beal, LLP for an immediate consultation. 

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