What is Military or Veteran Status Discrimination?

Author: Mesriani Law Group
Posted on: November 16, 2020

Our service members make great sacrifices to ensure our freedom. They put their lives on the line to protect our country and in turn, deserve our support and respect.  Unfortunately, discrimination against veterans is still a significant issue and many veterans or military members return to civilian life to face unjust treatment in the workplace.

California Employee Rights for Active Duty Military and Veterans

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) protects active-duty military and veterans from workplace discrimination. This state law makes it unlawful to discriminate against job applicants or employees based on their military or veteran status. FEHA covers members or veterans of U.S. Armed Forces, U.S. Armed Forces Reserve, U.S. National Guard, and the California National Guard.

In addition to FEHA, service members are also protected by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). USERRA is a federal law that protects service members who are returning to employment after serving time in the military. Congress enacted this law to encourage people to join the service and in turn, offer protection by minimizing disruption in employment status if he or she must leave his or her job to serve the country.

USERRA also prohibits employers from discriminating against employees or job applicants based on military obligations or service.

Actions Prohibited Under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)

Under FEHA, the following actions are prohibited:

  • Discrimination against an employee based on military or veteran status
  • Discrimination in the conditions, terms, or privileges of employment based on military or veteran status
  • Refusal to hire or offer a job based on military or veteran status
  • Refusal to offer training based on military or veteran status
  • Harassment based on military or veteran status
  • Any action that discharges or bars a candidate from employment or training based on military or veteran status

Protection for Veterans with Disabilities 

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the percentage of veterans who have service-connected disabilities (disabilities aggravated or incurred during military service) has increased over the years.

Common injuries reported by veterans include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, missing limbs, hearing loss, and other impairments.

Fortunately, there are laws that protect veterans with disabilities from discrimination at work. USERRA and Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate against veterans with disabilities in the workplace.

Enforced by the EEOC, Title 1 of the ADA prohibits private and public (local and state) employers with 15 or more employees from discriminating against individuals based on disability status.

Veterans with a disability who meets the ADA’s definition are protected regardless if the disability is service-connected.

Consult with a Military Status Discrimination Lawyer Today

If you believe you’re a victim of military or veteran status discrimination, don’t hesitate to contact our office today. We are confident that our experienced military discrimination lawyers can obtain the maximum compensation for your case and offer a “no win, no fee” guarantee. Contact Mesriani Law Group’s office in Los Angeles today for your free legal consultation.