Employer Handbook Posts for 12/01/2020
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The Employer Handbook by Eric B. Meyer

Want three ways to improve employment of U.S. veterans with disabilities? The EEOC has got your back.

Disability, USERRA

Image by Shonda Ranson from Pixabay

Late last week, the EEOC revised and released three publications that discuss how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) apply to veteran employees and those who employ them.

The revised publications are:

Since I haven’t posted much here on USERRA before, how about a quick primer on what that law requires?

If the ADA is the disability discrimination law, which it is because “disability” is right in the title, then USERRA is the military discrimination law. Specifically, USERRA prohibits employment discrimination against someone who has served, does serve, or intend to serve in the military.

If you think that juries abhor disability discrimination, you ain’t seen nothing when it comes to allegations of military discrimination. In other words, try not to violate USERRA.

Employers cannot deny initial employment, reemployment, retention in employment, promotion, or any benefit of employment to a person based on a past, present, or future service obligation. USERRA also has an anti-retaliation provision that precludes employers from retaliating against a person because of an action taken to enforce or exercise any USERRA right or for assisting in a USERRA investigation.

But, there are two parts to USERRA, the second of which can get employers into trouble even without showing any anti-military bias. It’s a bit like FMLA interference.

A pre-service employer must reemploy servicemembers returning from a period of service in the uniformed services if those servicemembers meet these five criteria. Employers are required to provide to persons entitled to the rights and benefits under USERRA a notice of the rights, benefits, and obligations of such persons and such employers under USERRA.

A court may order an employer to compensate a prevailing claimant for lost wages or benefits and liquidated damages for “willful” violations.

How has your company succeeded in hiring and retaining veterans with disabilities? Email me and let me know.

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