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Employers: Do Yourself a Favor and Hire a Veteran

by | Nov 10, 2022 | ADA, blog, Employment Issues For Employers, Employment Law |

Historically, veterans have had difficulties finding employment.  However, the unemployment rate for veterans was as low as 2.7% as of September 2022, a full percentage point lower than last year.  Despite this welcome news, many employers remain hesitant to hire veterans based on their preconceived notions.  In reality, however, veterans can often make the best employees, and employers who are hiring would be wise to set aside their negative misconceptions and consider hiring a veteran for their openings.

One obstacle that veterans have historically faced was a lack of a college degree.  However, this is becoming less of a concern as many veterans are now leaving the military with degrees that they can put to use in the workplace.  Additionally, even if a veteran may not have a degree, employers should consider the fact that military experience likely provided them with a wealth of unique, real-world experience that a typical college graduate wouldn’t be able to bring to their business.  Not only do veterans have unique skillsets, but their service has instilled values in them that set them apart from typical college graduates.  In terms of adaptability, dedication, loyalty, and discipline, veterans can be uniquely equipped to hit the ground running and meet the fast-paced demands of work life.

It is also not uncommon for employers to subscribe to the stereotype that veterans might have brain injuries or mental illnesses, such as PTSD.  Employers should be very careful not to make any employment decisions based on harmful stereotypes such as these.  Refusal to hire a veteran based on a perceived disability could be a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).  Moreover, even if an applicant does suffer from injuries or impairments associated with their service, this should not disqualify them from employment.  The ADA requires employers to fairly consider all applicants, regardless of their disabilities.  Employers may not deny an applicant because of their disability unless it genuinely prevents them from performing an essential function of the role.

Even apart from any preconceived notions about veterans having disabilities, employers may not generally discriminate against applicants based on their past, present, or future military service.  Under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (“USERRA”), an employer may not deny a veteran employment simply because of their service.   Additionally, USERRA provides job protection to employees who take military service-related absences from their civilian jobs.

If you have any questions hiring a veteran, the ADA, or USERRA, contact Thatcher Zavaro & Mani at 301-850-1246www.ThatcherLaw.com.  Follow us on: