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How veterans are protected against on-the-job discrimination

Veterans in California are protected against job discrimination based on their military service in the same way that people are protected from discrimination based on race, national origin and other protected characteristics. There is also a law in place that allows them preferential treatment when it comes to federal employment.

The Uniformed Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 mandates that veterans must be given their jobs back that they had prior to being deployed, and employers cannot discriminate against them because of their military service. This applies to all employers of all sizes. Employers must offer accommodations to veterans who have disabilities as a result of their service or whose existing disabilities were exacerbated. In some cases, discrimination against veterans may be subtle. For example, an employer might ask whether the veteran has had counseling or treatment for PTSD. For people who are still in the reserves, an employer might question whether they expect to be deployed soon. This question may be illegal in the same way that employers are not supposed to ask employees or potential employees whether they plan to get pregnant.

Under the Veterans' Preference Act of 1944, veterans have preference when applying for federal jobs. If there are layoffs at the federal job, nonveterans are more likely to be laid off than veterans.

Veterans who believe they are facing workplace discrimination or are unsure whether they are might want to consult with an attorney who may explain their employee rights to them. It may be best to make notes about any conversations and save any voice mails, emails or other proof of remarks made. After discussing employee rights with an attorney, a veteran might first want to go through work channels. If the workplace does not address the issue, a lawsuit may be the next step.

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