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What if a military person faces employment discrimination?

There are many active duty service members, retired service members and reservists of the United States Armed Forces in California. While the service they provide for the country is noble and incredibly appreciated, there are still times when these brave men and women are discriminated against for a variety of reasons. This can happen when they are seeking work or returning to their civilian job and are confronted with workplace discrimination or employment discrimination. The law states that veterans are accorded certain protections.

According to the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, it is prohibited for a military member or a veteran of the military to be discriminated against based on that status. This applies to a person seeking a job, working as an unpaid intern, or in promotions, assignments, being terminated or any other issue regarding employment. These workers are also protected from harassment, must be reasonably accommodated if they have a disability, cannot be prohibited from joining a union, must be treated equally by employment agencies, cannot be retaliated against for reporting violations and must be allowed to file complaints if they choose to do so.

Military members are classified as a member or veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces, the U.S. Armed Forces Reserve, the U.S. National Guard or the California National Guard. Included in the law is a person who is perceived to be a member of former member of the military or a person who is associated with someone who is a veteran or member of the military. Those who have been discriminated against have the right to file a complaint. The complaint must be filed within one year of the final act of harassment or discrimination. People who are under 18 cannot file more than one year after the date they turn 18.

There are a number of remedies that may be available should workplace discrimination occur. A person can be awarded the job they were not granted because of their status. They might receive back pay, a promotion or compensation. Depending on the circumstances, they could be awarded compensatory damages. Moreover, there can be fines and penalties levied against the employer. Finally, punitive damages could be awarded to the claimant and her or she might receive compensation for legal fees. If there is a belief that these violations have occurred, discussing the case with a legal professional experienced with those who have faced discrimination at work due to their military status can help with filing a claim.

Source: dfeh.ca.gov, “The Department of Fair Employment & Housing — Workplace Rights for Members of the Military and Veterans,” accessed on June 14, 2016


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