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When veterans face discrimination in the workplace

Though the phrase "support our troops" is outwardly affirmed by nearly all Americans, not all civilians and employers act consistently with this sentiment. In fact, veterans who have returned home from service too often experience discrimination in the workplace as a result of their previous duty.

Some employers do not properly understand the ways in which military service may and may not affect veterans' ability to perform their jobs. As a result, they either subtly or blatantly push back against veteran employees. From improper handling of FMLA claims to wrongful termination, employer discrimination against vets may be intentional or unintentional. Nevertheless, veterans should become familiar with their employment rights and protections in case they need to defend them.

For example, if a vet returns from active duty and his or her job is not waiting, this can be considered discrimination. Under most circumstances, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) mandates that employers reinstate returning active duty employees in their former positions.

Additionally, military service members including National Guardsmen are protected against hiring discrimination. Though employers may be concerned that hiring service members will result in lost work time, this is not a legal reason to discriminate against them in the hiring process.

Employers also may not deny service members vacation time that they have legitimately accrued due to service-related time off. In fact, service members are often entitled to many benefits upon return from active service.

If you are a veteran and have any questions about what benefits you are entitled to from your employer, you may wish to consult both the USERRA and an experienced employment law attorney.

Source: AOL Jobs, "7 Signs of Discrimination Against Veterans At Work," Donna Ballman, Sept. 27, 2012

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