Are You a Veteran? Protect Yourself From Ohio Workplace Discrimination.

As a veteran, several federal laws are in place to protect your right to obtain civilian work without being discriminated against for your service. These protections include active duty or service in the Ohio National Guard or Army Reserves. In addition, employers that violate veterans’ rights could face legal accountability and have to pay financial damages and reinstate the service member’s position they discriminated against.

Veteran Rights Under USERRA and VOW

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Right Act (USERRA) protects the ability of military service members to find and hold onto their jobs in the private and governmental sectors. This law is crucial to preventing discrimination in the workplace for these workers and prohibits employers from denying them employment, benefits, pay, or advancement opportunities based on military service. 

USERRA ensures that active-duty personnel, including guardsmen and reservists, can return to their positions after completing required military deployments or training.

Another act to protect veterans from workplace discrimination is the Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) to Hire Heroes Act of 2011. This amended the original USERRA law prohibiting harassment based on a veteran’s status. It also streamlined and expanded several federal programs that focused on assisting retired military members in adjusting to civilian life, helping with disabilities, and included incentives for employers to employ former service personnel. 

Employment Rights for Veterans Under Federal Disability Laws

After serving their country, many veterans leave their service years with disabilities. The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act provide additional protections for this working group to ensure their right to employment and keep their jobs protected.

These laws prohibit companies from denying interviews, refusing to hire, or passing over veteran workers because of a disability. Employers sometimes assume that all service members are suffering from some level of post-traumatic stress disorder, regardless of the employee has such a diagnosis or not. With this assumption, adverse career decisions negatively impact this group of workers.  

Another critical aspect of the ADA and Rehabilitation Act is that employers must attempt to accommodate a veteran’s disability if requested and reasonable. If your manager or supervisor dismissed your request without any serious consideration or is harassing you for making such a request, seek legal representation at Hux Law firm right away. 

My Veteran Employment Rights Were Violated, Now What? 

If you suspect or are sure that your employer has violated your rights under any federal laws, including USERRA, you may not know what steps to take first. Veterans who have experienced workplace discrimination need to first speak with their HR manager or a trusted manager. Your workplace should have an established procedure for submitting a complaint and a resolution process.

Examples of discrimination that veterans regularly experience include:

  • Hearing or seeing that a company prefers not to hire veterans
  • An open job position being closed after sharing your veteran status
  • Denial of benefits, career advancements, or employment for disabled veteran workers
  • Vacation time inequality 
  • Refusal for paid/unpaid medical leave
  • Being harassed about one’s military status/service

These are just a few situations of many that you might have experienced on the job as a military veteran. In these situations, you must protect your rights and consult with a seasoned Ohio veteran discrimination lawyer. Legal counsel will prove invaluable in not only representing your case but explaining to you what rights you have and how your employer violated them. 

If a resolution can’t be reached, a lawsuit might be your next step. This will require gathering evidence, preparing formal complaints, and preventing retaliatory action by your employer. Claims that are successful in court could achieve several goals, including reinstatement of your position, compensatory damages, and your company being ordered to change their current policies and practices regarding the treatment of veteran employees.

Don’t Accept Discriminatory Workplace Practices

James J. Hux is the Owner and Sole Attorney at Hux Law Firm. His practice areas include Ohio employment discrimination against veterans and active service members in the workplace. If you need reputable representation after your employer unfairly discriminated against you, contact his office today and schedule your free consultation.