Veterans Rights under The ADA

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployments Rights Act (USERRA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Title 1, are federal laws that protect veterans who are disabled from discrimination in the workplace and while looking for jobs. The United States Department of Labor (DOL) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) enforce the requirements of the USERRA for the reemployment of disabled veterans, whether they have a service-connected disability or not. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces Title 1 of the ADA, and prohibits discrimination by employers, (public, private, or government) with 15 or more employees because of a disability.

Veterans are defined by the ADA as disabled if they have a recorded mental or physical impairment that limits major activities of life, or if they are regarding by their employer has having an impairment. If a veteran has a disability rating from the military or U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, they are generally covered by the protections in the ADA.

According to the ADA, an employer cannot turn your down because you have a disability or because you need some accommodations to do the job. In fact, there are even laws that promote giving disabled veterans a preference when hiring. The Vietnam Era Veteran’s Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) requires that employers take positive action in employing and advancing disabled veterans in certain situations.

A disabled veteran does not have to answer any questions regarding his disability when interviewing for a job, in fact, employers are not legally allowed to ask those types of questions. Employers may ask if you will need accommodations or assistance to do the job you are applying for and how you would complete the job without assistance. You are not required to disclose any disability or medical condition that is not obvious during an interview, though if you will require assistance or accommodation at some point during the application process, you will need to disclose the reason for the assistance or accommodation. After an employer offers you a job, they are able to ask you about medical conditions and may require that you receive a medical examination, however, the employer must ask those same questions and requests to everyone who will be working that same job.

Special accommodations you may consider for a job include accessible written materials, extra time to complete tests, accessible locations for meetings, etc., modified devices and equipment and workspaces, leave for disability related treatment and training, and even a modified work schedule.

For more information about your rights as a disabled veteran, see the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guide. (http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/publications/ada_veterans.cfm)

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