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Discrimination against veterans in the workplace is illegal

Not all workers in San Diego are aware that as recently as 2011, laws have been passed to protect the rights of veterans in the workplace.

Discrimination against veterans in San Diego workplaces might include employers telling veterans their jobs are no longer available, employers or employees harassing a veteran who has returned to the workplace, employers refusing to provide promotions, pay increases, or vacation time that would have accrued during military service, or employers not wanting to hire a veteran due to a disability or the possibility of having to serve another tour. Under federal and state laws, veterans are protected against these and other forms of discrimination in the workplace.

The Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 now prevents the harassment of veterans returning to work, while other forms of discrimination are covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act. This act makes it illegal for an employer to refuse to hire a veteran with a disability as well as to fire or demote him or her. When veterans need to take time off of work due to an illness or disability, or when they need to care for a family member, their job should remain protected under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act guarantees that veterans' jobs -- and the benefits that would have accrued had they remained working -- are available to them upon return from service. Additionally, were a job promotion likely during the term of military service, the returning veteran may be entitled to that promotion, regardless if the position is already filled. The employer must also provide any required training to get his or her job skills updated.

Because the USERRA includes "any benefit," veterans are further protected against loss of any vacation time or pay increases that would have likely occurred during their military service. A pension must continue as if the employee had remained working, and health care coverage, including coverage for dependents, may be elected for up to 24 months.

There are many protections for veterans in the workplace, but sometimes employers fail to make sure that they are in compliance with these laws. If you believe that you have been discriminated against in the workplace after serving in the military, you may want to consider speaking with an attorney in order to learn more about your rights and how to protect your rights in the workplace.

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