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Protecting veterans against discrimination at work

Some people in New York might know that there are laws in place that protect people who may face workplace discrimination on the basis of such characteristics as race or religion. They may be unaware that there are similar laws that protect veterans from discrimination.

The Uniformed Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 applies to employers of all sizes and bans discrimination on the basis of military service. It also requires employers to allow employees to return to the job they had prior to deployment. If the person was injured while serving, the employer must make accommodations for any disabilities that individual may have upon returning to work. The Veterans' Preference Act of 1944 gives preference to veterans in federal jobs. It also helps protect veterans if layoffs happen. However, it does not apply to private employers.

As is the case with many types of discrimination, prejudice against veterans can be subtle. An example might be asking a veteran whether he or she was treated for PTSD or has been seeing a counselor. Another example might be asking someone in the National Guard if he or she expects to be deployed.

Since discrimination can be so subtle, people who believe that they are facing it in the workplace or during a job search may want to consult an attorney. A lawyer may be able to explain whether the comments or actions constitute discrimination and what the person should do next. For example, people are often advised to document incidents as much as possible. If the discrimination is happening at a place where the person is already employed, an attorney might advise him or her to address the issue first through human resources or other official channels. After that, if the employer is not responsive, a lawyer may assist someone with filing a lawsuit or suggest other action.

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The Law Offices of Jeffrey E. Goldman
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New York, NY 10016

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