With Veterans Day just around the corner, many residents in Houston, across Texas and all around the U.S. will celebrate the service of past and present military members. Their selfless act to protect the country is greatly appreciated, and it deserves praise and respect.
However, some work environments may not see it the same way, and their unfortunate (if not upsetting) atmosphere can make work very difficult for a current or retired military member.
Rights of Veterans in the Workplace
Veterans or current service members are protected by law against discrimination in the workplace.
If your current or future employer has done the following based on your veteran or service member status, contact an attorney:
- Terminated you
- Failed to hire you
- Failed to promote you
- Failed to re-employ you after returning from duty
- Failed to continue benefits while deployed or at work
- Refused to hire you due to a disability
- Refused to provide reasonable accommodations for your disability
Whether you are a current member in the uniformed services or a veteran, private and public employers are forbidden from taking adverse action against you based on your status.
Signs of Discrimination Against Veterans or Service Members
There are a few telltale signs of veteran discrimination in the workplace, and none of them are acceptable. The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act sets guidelines to protect veterans from such unfair treatment. Here are a few examples of veteran discrimination:
- "The job is no longer available": This can come in two ways -- either a promotion a military veteran wanted is suddenly unavailable to them, or a new job they are interviewing for is similarly out of the reach. The latter can be tough to prove, but the former happens far too often and an employer is required to give training to someone that ensures they are qualified for a promotion.
- "I do not hire veterans": It's tough to understand, but some employers will outright avoid hiring military veterans. There can be a variety of reasons for this, all of which are unjustifiable and make the employer liable for their discrimination.
- "Your PTSD may not be the right fit for the role": Employers are prohibited from disqualifying candidates based on their medical conditions. They are also required to provide reasonable accommodations if asked.
- "We need to cut off your benefits while you are deployed": An employer can try and take away accrued vacation time from a military member if they missed work while on active duty; they can try to deny a pay raise on the same basis, even if you would have reasonably attained one if you were at work; they can try and strip pension or medical coverage plans because of a military member's service, or deny time off for seeking care for a medical condition garnered during service. All of these acts are violations of USERRA.
If you have experienced discrimination based on your military membership status, contact us.