On November 11, 2020, our nation celebrated Veterans Day across the country to thank those who have selflessly served in the U.S. military.
Just as they protected our freedoms, we have laws in place that protect veterans’ rights in the workplace. It is important that both employers and employees understand, implement, and enforce these laws.
Equal Employment Opportunities for Veterans
Both federal and state equal employment opportunity laws prohibit specific types of job discrimination in certain workplaces. This includes the protection of veterans.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, or OFCCP, protects veterans from discrimination and requires federal contractors and subcontractors to take affirmative action to employ and promote protected veterans within their company. This is in accordance with the affirmative action provisions of the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. It also makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against protected veterans when making decisions on hiring, firing, pay, benefits, job assignments, promotions, etc. This is enforced by the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service, or VETS.
A “protected veteran” includes:
- A Disabled Veteran: a veteran who served on active duty and is entitled to disability compensation under laws that are administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs
- Other Protected Veteran: a veteran who served on active duty during a war, or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge was authorized under laws administered by the Department of Defense
- Recently Separated Veteran: a veteran separated during the three-year period that starts on the date of their discharge or release from active duty
- Armed Forces Service Medal Veteran: a veteran who, while serving on active duty, earned an Armed Forces service medal in a military operation
Military reservists and National Guard members called to active duty also have rights under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, or USERRA. The USERRA assists veterans in understanding their employment eligibility and job entitlements, employer obligations, and benefits. It also ensures that employers share these rights and benefits with veteran employees as well.
For more information regarding the rights of veterans in the workplace, visit the Department of Veterans Affairs, a government resource that further explains veteran programs and benefits.
Experienced Employment Law Attorney, Mediator, Arbitrator, Investigator, Legal and Media Commentator
Angela Reddock-Wright is an employment and labor law attorney, mediator, arbitrator, and certified workplace and Title IX investigator (AWI-CH) in Los Angeles, CA. Known as the “Workplace Guru,” Angela is an influencer and leading authority on employment, workplace/HR, Title IX, hazing, and bullying issues.
Angela is a regular legal and media commentator and analyst and has appeared on such media outlets as Entertainment Tonight, Law and Crime with Brian Ross, Court TV, CNN, ABC, CBS, Fox 11 News, KTLA-5, the Black News Channel, Fox Soul – The Black Report, NPR, KPCC, Airtalk-89.3, KJLH Front Page with Dominique DiPrima, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the LA Times, Yahoo! Entertainment, People Magazine, Essence Magazine, the Los Angeles Sentinel, LA Focus, Daily Journal, Our Weekly and the Wave Newspapers.
Angela is a member of the panel of distinguished mediators and arbitrators with Judicate West, a California company that represents the gold standard in dispute resolution. She also owns her own dispute resolution law firm, the Reddock Law Group of Los Angeles, specializing in the mediation, arbitration, and investigation of employment discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and other workplace claims, along with Title IX, sexual assault and misconduct, hazing and bullying cases.
This communication is not legal advice. It is educational only. For legal advice, consult with an experienced employment law attorney in your state or city.