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Employment Protections for Veterans with Disabilities

There are three main laws that provide protections for veterans with disabilities. These are the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act. Between these three laws, veterans with disabilities are protected from discrimination in the civilian work place whether they are going back to their civilian jobs after service or are looking to start their first civilian job.

Fortunately, the ADA has been effective in integrating people with physical and mental disabilities back into society. Over the last ten years it has become increasingly common to see disabled people out and about and holding regular jobs. As a disabled veteran you will find that you are readily accepted now in society when twenty years ago your disability would have been a serious social handicap.

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) requires that disabled veterans be allowed to return to their previous jobs if they want and are able to after becoming disabled due to service. USERRA was designed to specifically protect military servicemen from losing their civilian jobs due to military obligations. USERRA further requires that employers help a returning veteran become qualified for the job they are doing. This mainly refers to training.

Both USERRA and the ADA make it impossible for employers to discriminate against qualified disabled veterans in any way. This includes not only discrimination during hiring but extends to all aspects of employment during your career including: harassment, denial of benefits or promotions, or the application of any rules of regulations that would present a hardship in any way.

Title I of the ADA prohibits discrimination of disabled persons in both private and State public sector employment. All companies that employ more than 15 people cannot discriminate against hiring a person with disabilities and they are required to make reasonable accommodations for the disabled person in the workplace to ensure that the person can perform their job. Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act extends this protection to the Federal workforce.

As a disabled veteran, it is important to seek job placement help and counseling through the VA. In most cases, being disabled is something that can be reasonably accommodated and you can look forward to a long and profitable civilian career.

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