Happy Veterans Day 2015!
At the 11th Hour, of the 11th Day, of the 11th Month, (November 11th) in the year 1918, the Great War ended. Almost a century has passed since World War I has ended and since then our nation has chosen November 11th as Veterans Day. This is a day to honor those brave men and women who have embodied the principles of our nation and put themselves in harm’s way to protect our very way of life.
Few have been hit with the unemployment crisis as hard as our returning veterans. Veteran unemployment is among the highest of any group. Despite the stigmatism that follows retuning veterans, many employers are overlooking the great skills and abilities these men and women have to offer in the civilian workplace. Many are proven leaders, innovators and loyal employees.
In honor of all our US Military Service members, the Law Offices of Massey & Duffy, would like to say “Thank You” to those who served and continue to serve our nation.
The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) outlines many protections for returning Veterans, some of whom suffer severe service-connected disabilities:
- Discrimination: Title I of the ADA prohibits an employer from discriminating against an applicant or employee based on veteran’s status. This includes but is not limited to hiring, promotions, job assignments, training, and/or termination due to their disability, a history of having a disability, or the employer’s perception of such disability.
- Definition of “Disabled”: A veteran with a service-connected disability is protected by the ADA when he meets the ADA’s definition of disability and is qualified for the job he has or wants. According to the changes outlined in the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, it is easier to establish entitlements under the ADA. For example, the term “major life activities” includes not only activities such as walking, seeing, hearing, and concentrating, but also the operation of major bodily functions, such as functions of the brain and the neurological system. This is particularly helpful to veterans who have suffered from PTSD or Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI).
- Veterans’ Preference for Federal Employees: Under the Veterans’ Preference Act, veterans with and without disabilities are entitled to a preference in certain federal government agencies over others in hiring from competitive lists. Qualified veterans are given additional points in the application process and if two qualified candidates are selected, this veteran’s preference would be assessed.
- Tax Incentives for Employers: Although the ADA prohibits discrimination “on the basis of disability,” it does not prevent affirmative action on behalf of individuals with disabilities. A private employer may hire an individual with a disability who is qualified (including a veteran with a disability) over a qualified applicant without any disability. This practice is not required by law, but may qualify the employer for certain tax incentives such as the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC).
- Accommodations: If you are a disabled veteran, you may be entitled to certain accommodations from your employer. These accommodations are not “special favors”, they are legal entitlements you may need to perform your daily work functions. These accommodations should be requested, in writing, and given to your immediate supervisor as well as your Human Relations Department to ensure that they are aware of what accommodations you need. Some employers may require medical documentation from your physician.
The attorneys of Massey & Duffy are proud to represent our veterans when they face discrimination and injustice. If you believe you have been denied your legal rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act, please call our office at (352) 505-8900) to schedule a free consultation.