Veterans put everything on the line for us, and those who are lucky enough to return home, do so with a bevy of legal protections in the workplace. Despite this, they disproportionately face significant challenges once they get home. For example, the unemployment rate for veterans is significantly higher than the general population, and in particular, those on the front lines (the infantry) face the highest level of unemployment. There is a glimmer of legal hope though. First, the Uniformed Services Employment/Reemployment Rights Act or USERA provides three broad umbrellas of protection.
First, employers have a duty to reemploy those who leave for a tour of less than 5 years. So they have a duty to return them to a position that is similar in every way, in pay, in benefits, etc., to the job that they left. So when servicemen return, employers have a duty to do that under USERA.
Second, USERA protects all veterans from being discriminated against for serving their country. In other words, an employer can’t refuse to hire a war veteran because they served. That’s illegal under USERA.
Third, USERA grants protection to disabled veterans. In other words, those who are hurt while serving our country, USERA demands that employers make an effort to reasonably accommodate those returning from service with an injury or disability, and an affinity to do so is illegal.
North Carolina laws also provide significant protections too. It is a misdemeanor in North Carolina to discriminate against a servicemen or returning veteran because they served, and doing so would be patently illegal. Discrimination on the basis of service against those who served our country is a despicable form of discrimination and it’s something that we endeavor to fight against. Our veterans have sacrificed so much. At Van Kampen Law, we like to do our part to help.