At the end of February, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued revised guidance addressing various employment laws and how those laws impact the employment of veterans. The aim, according to the EEOC, is to make clear how the Americans with Disability Act Amendments “…make it easier for veterans…including those that are often not well understood…to get needed reasonable accommodations” in the workplace. Included in the discussion are some of the more challenging impairments to accommodate in the workplace, such as traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The first document is intended to assist employers with understanding the differences between the protections afforded to veterans under the ADA versus those afforded to veterans under the Uniformed Services Employment and Rehabilitation Act. The guidance explains how the ADA applies to recruiting, hiring and accommodating veterans with disabilities and discusses different aspect of the laws, including the differing standards controlling the determination of disability under the various laws.
The second guidance document is geared toward educating veterans as to their rights in the workplace, including steps that they can take if the believe that their employer or prospective employer has unlawfully denied them opportunities, jobs or accommodations.
This action by the EEOC follows a public meeting held by the EEOC in November of 2011 at which there was a panel discussion addressing the obstacles faced by disabled veterans when re-entering the work force. The Special Assistant to the Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) at that meeting discussed her agency’s proposed rulemaking, seeking to strengthen the Affirmative Action requirements applicable to federal contractors and subcontractors with respect to compliance with the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. The OFCCP anticipates issuing a final rule on the proposed changes by July of 2012.