Laws that Protect Veterans with Disabilities in Employment
Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) prohibits employers from discriminating against employees or applicants for employment on the basis of their military status or military obligations. It also protects the reemployment rights of individuals who leave their civilian jobs (whether voluntarily or involuntarily) to serve in the uniformed services, including the U.S. Reserve forces and state, District of Columbia, and territory (e.g., Guam) National Guards. Under USERRA, employers must make "reasonable efforts" to help a veteran who is returning to employment to become qualified to perform the duties of the position whether or not the veteran has a service-connected disability. This could include providing training or retraining for the position. USERRA applies to all veterans, not just those with service-connected disabilities, and to all employers regardless of size.
Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits an employer from treating an applicant or employee unfavorably in all aspects of employment -- including hiring, promotions, job assignments, training, termination, and any other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment -- because he has a disability, a history of having a disability, or because the employer regards him as having a disability. That means, for example, that it is illegal for an employer to refuse to hire a veteran because he has PTSD, because he was previously diagnosed with PTSD, or because the employer assumes he has PTSD. The ADA also limits the medical information employers may obtain and prohibits disability-based harassment and retaliations. It also provides that, absent undue hardship (significant difficulty or expense to the employer), applicants and employees with disabilities are entitled to reasonable accommodation to apply for jobs, to perform their jobs, and to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment (e.g., access to the parts of an employer's facility available to all employees and access to employer-sponsored training and social events).