Veterans should already know this about job discrimination
But in case you don’t, I’m going to tell you anyway. If you ever are in need of a job, or trying to return to a job after military service (and all this applys to homeless veterans as well), or you are disabled and your employer is not accomodating that disablement, you may not know about some programs designed specifically to help you find a new job or return to a job after service. The first of these is USERRA.
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) covers virtually every individual in the country who serves in or has served in the uniformed services and applies to all employers in the public and private sectors, including (but not limited to)Federal employers.
The law seeks to ensure that those who serve their country can retain their civilian employment and benefits, and can seek employment that is free from discrimination because of their service (public or private employment) . USERRA also provides special protection for disabled veterans, requiring employers to make reasonable efforts to accommodate the disability.
Basically this law gives veterans certain rights to return to their old jobs if they leave for military service. Veterans are also protected from civilian/private (non federal) employees denying new employement just becasue of your military service (such as an employer just will not hire former military for some reason).
Veterans that are disabled have a further advantage in requiring employers to make reasonable efforts to accommodate the disability. Veterans applying for federal jobs have a special preference (points) assigned that give them an advantage over non veterans when applying for those jobs.
Are you covered by the Law?
Click here to find out if you are covered under this law: Answer the questions and determine if you are covered. Some of these are service related by particular years.
Do you think you have been discriminated against?
If you think you have been discrimated against, click here: eLaws USERRA Advisor – Discrimination read what it says, then press “continue” and you will find a series of questions that will lead you to an answer as to whether you have a case.
If you appear to have a valid basis for filing a complaint, how do you file a claim?
Before filing a complaint, you should discuss your concerns with your supervisor and/or the Federal agency personnel office that took the action. Anyone you choose, including an official of a veterans’ service organization, may help you at any time. If you are unable to resolve the matter with the agency, you should:
- contact your local State Employment Service office and speak to a Veterans’ Employment Representative or a Disabled Veterans’ Outreach Program Specialist. He or she will make sure your information is complete and forward your complaint to the DOL State representative for the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS);
- file a written complaint directly with a DOL Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) Office. Please review the instructions on how to file a complaint form . You will find a link to the form on the instructions page. This involves downloading a form 1010 available at the instructions link above..
What are your remedies?
Remedies to a claimant under the law may flow from two different processes. The first is the administrative route (handled by the United States Department of Labor, VETS). The second is the litigation route (handled by the U.S. Attorney General or the Office of Special Counsel). Remedies may differ depending on which route is chosen.
Remedies available through the administrative route can include:
- Return to a job
- Back pay
- Lost benefits
- Corrected personnel files
- Lost promotional opportunities
- Retroactive seniority
- Pension adjustments
- Restored vacation
The courts can require the employer to comply with the law and restore all compensation referred to above. Where violation is considered willful the court may double any amount due as liquidated damages. The court may NOT, however, impose any punitive damages under USERRA.
There is a lot more to this topic. What I’ve tried to do above is muddle through some of the links and find some shortcuts. You should go to the USERRA Advisor home page for the full scoop.
I will cover another of these programs designed to help veterans in need of a job tomorrow.