Just in Time for Veterans Day, Federal Agencies Provide Military Service Members and Veterans with Guidance on Unlawful Employment Discrimination
On November 10, 2022, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), the U.S. Department of Labor Veterans’ Employment and Training Service, and the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division jointly released a comprehensive resource document detailing federal laws and other authorities that specifically protect service members and veterans from workplace discrimination. In its press release, the EEOC described the jointly authored “Protections Against Employment Discrimination for Service Members and Veterans” as the first-of-its-kind single publication intended to “help veterans and service members determine which laws and federal agencies are responsible for enforcing their workplace rights and where to seek assistance if they believe those rights have been violated.”
The guidance addresses the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Acts (USERRA), which, among other things, prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals based on their present, past, or future military service; as well as the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA), which prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating in employment against protected veterans, and also requires them to take affirmative action to recruit, hire, promote, and retain protected veterans.
Additionally, the guidance covers other employment laws that prohibit employment discrimination for other issues that military service members and veterans potentially face, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination based on physical or mental disabilities; Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, which prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating against employees with disabilities, and which also requires employers to take affirmative action to recruit, hire, promote, and retain these individuals; Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity), and religion; the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which requires that men and women in the same workplace be given equal pay for equal work; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, which protects people who are 40 or older from discrimination based on age; the Genetic Information Non Discrimination Act of 2008, which prohibits discrimination based on genetic information; the Immigration and Nationality Act’s Anti-Discrimination Provision, which prohibits certain employers from discriminating based on citizenship, immigrants status, and national origin; and Executive Order 11246, which prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating on the basis of protected characteristics, and from discriminating against applicants or employees because they ask about, discuss, or disclose their compensation or that of others, under certain circumstances.
If you have any questions about the various workplace protections that apply to military service members or veterans, please reach out to Thompson & Horton’s employment team.