Today, we celebrate the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which was signed into law 22 years ago. The law, which says people with disabilities may not be denied employment by covered employers based on their disability, also offers protection to people who are perceived to have a disability, including many of our nation’s veterans.
In an effort to provide guidance with regard to the ADA and its impact on the employment of veterans, Goodwill Industries International (GII) and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will host a webinar July 31 at 2:00 EDT.
Veterans Unemployment and Perceived Disability
Many local Goodwill® agencies across the country are working to improve employment prospects for military service members, veterans and their families. Unemployment remains disproportionately high, especially for those individuals who are or have been deployed in recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
According the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, veterans who served since September 11, 2001, in Iraq, Afghanistan or both had an unemployment rate of 11.6 percent in August 2011. Employment prospects are bleaker still for younger (18-24) male veterans. Their 2011 unemployment rate was a whopping 29.1 percent.
Reasons for these statistics are numerous. One reason is that many employers, knowing that a job candidate has been deployed to Iraq and/or Afghanistan, perceive that the candidate has a mental disability – such as PTSD – or a traumatic brain injury. Many employers believe hiring someone with this kind of disability would impact job performance or require costly accommodations.
Recourse for Discriminated Veterans
Veterans who believe they have been denied employment based on a perceived disability have justification to file a complaint with the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Organizations that work to help employ veterans and veterans themselves need to know these rights and understand how to identify signs of possible discrimination.
To participate in the webinar, click here to register.