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Veteran discrimination in the workplace

After returning from a deployment of active duty, some veterans may face discrimination when trying to go back to their old jobs or applying for new jobs. Luckily, several laws are in place to help prevent veteran employment discrimination. Veterans should be aware of their rights so they can recognize when their rights are being violated.

Employers might not want to keep a job open for a returning solider or hire someone that may soon be deployed. However, employers are not allowed to discriminate based on a person's military status.

Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, or USERRA, protects the rights of veterans in the workplace after they return from duty. USERRA requires that employers give veterans back the jobs they had before active service if they had been in the service for five years or less. A veteran should be allowed to have his or her job back after service.

A returning veteran is also entitled to any benefits he or she would have received had he or she not been serving active duty. These include accrued vacation time and possibly pay raises and promotions. If pay raises and promotions are determined by the amount of time you spend at the job, the employer must count the years you were in active service as if you were working.

Also under USERRA, employers looking to hire workers cannot refuse to hire someone based on his or her status in the military.

Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) to Hire Heroes Act

Some veterans may face harassment in the workplace due to their military status. Signed into law in 2011, VOW protects veterans and current service men and women from harassment in relation for their military service. In Connecticut, employers should have policies against harassment in the workplace and must immediately investigate any instances of harassment.

Americans with Disabilities Act

Some veterans return from service with a new disability. It is illegal for an employer to refuse to hire or to fire a veteran due to his or her disability if he or she can still perform the tasks of the job with a reasonable accommodation. The employer must provide a reasonable accommodation to a veteran returning to his or her job with a disability.

Family and Medical Leave Act

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) protects veterans that need to take medical leave due to injuries or illnesses sustained during active duty. In some instances, employers must provide veterans in these situations with up to 26 weeks of leave. Additionally, this Act also grants leave to caretakers of injured or sick veterans.

If you have faced veteran discrimination

Facing discrimination based on your military or veteran status can be distressing. You may not know where to turn when your rights are violated. An attorney who specializes in workplace discrimination can help fight for your rights.