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Discrimination of Military Veterans in the Workplace

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Discrimination of Military Veterans in the Workplace

Shantel Prats

Essential Business Skills


Saint Leo University

April 1, 2013


It is a fact that military veterans and the military service they have been a part of have been important components in the preservation of peace and security both in the United States as well as in other countries and further, their service has ensured the protection of the interests of the country through the years. However, even as the American public continues to show its adoration and support of the troops by offering constant prayers and wearing colors that signify their support of the work that the military servicemen carry out, it has become apparent that this is not always translated to the treatment they get when they do eventually return home. This paper specifically examines the discrimination that the military veterans receive in the workplace beginning with a brief history of the term veterans seeking to explain the perception and treatment that various countries give to these veterans before narrowing down to the United States.

The paper then goes on to examine the reasons why veterans face discrimination in the workplace looking at reasons that include the perception of their apparent lack of mental stability, the fact that employers are unwilling to embrace the task of taking care of wounded veterans, the fact that they believe it is risky to hire military servicemen since they can suddenly be called into active duty as well as the fact that civilian employers find it hard to believe that these veterans can translate their military skills into the civilian work environment. The paper then moves on to offer the signs of discrimination that should be looked into in order for the society to be able to identify the instances of discrimination.

Finally the paper explains the various pieces of legislation that have been put in place to aid in the end of discrimination that these military veterans have had to endure for decades despite the service they have offered to the country and ends with a conclusion that restates the problem of discrimination veterans face in the workplace.

Discrimination of Military Veterans in the workplace

No one can dispute the sense of pride and support that Americans are giving to troops currently engaged in active duty in wars in Afghanistan to Iraq; from instances of displaying stickers and ribbons that openly declare their moral support for the soldiers to constantly offering prayers for their safety and celebrations which are held when they do eventually return back home and even though this is encouragement that is sorely needed; many military veterans have found that employers do not share the same enthusiasm when it comes to giving them fair job opportunities and often times face severe cases of discrimination in their places of work should they be lucky enough to land this employment (Durboraw, 2010, p. 15-25). This paper therefore seeks to closely examine the issue of veteran discrimination in the workplace, looking into the reasons that veterans face discrimination, the signs that can be used to identify whether discrimination is being carried out against the veterans and finally the laws that have been put in place to aid in the end of this practice.


The term veteran is associated with any individual who during some period of his life has had some exposure to working as a part of his or her country's armed forces and therefore by extension has had some experience with directly working in a military conflict zone through his capacity as a member of these forces. For a large majority of these individuals, this service has earned them a sense of special treatment from their countries- however, this treatment is varied while some governments strive to ensure that their veterans receive the respect that their service deserves; other countries do little to support and take care of the veterans' needs after they leave active service. It should also be noted that the experiences that soldiers go through while serving in conflict areas make them especially vulnerable to illnesses which include Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, this has been found to be more common among veterans who took part in military conflicts that were not popularly received by the public (Durboraw, 2010, p 26-37).

It has also been noted that veterans who served during the Vietnam War have been reportedly more forgotten than those who served in other wars including the World Wars whereas in other countries that have long held traditions that expressly forbid the sending out of military forces to conflict zones such as Germany do little in the way of officially recognizing their veterans and this includes a lack of official recognition with regards to a Veterans Day. The question of how to treat veterans is indeed a debatable issue since other countries do have long traditions of both honoring and respecting their veterans both living and dying as is witnessed in the United Kingdom which has 'Remembrance Day' that is focused on recalling the memories of those veterans who died while on active duty protecting the interests of the UK whereas in Russia, a tradition was established which encouraged newly married couples to honor military veterans by visiting a military cemetery on their wedding day and in France, respect is given to those who might have been injured in the course of their duty when it comes to getting a seat on a public service vehicle (Durboraw, 2010, p. 38-45).

The benefits that these veterans receive is as varied as the number of governments that come into power; in the United States, the call to protect the interests of war veterans was first made by president Abraham Lincoln and this is what led to the active formation of numerous veterans' organizations, however, it should be noted that the treatment of these veterans drastically changed after the World Wars and this led large numbers of veterans who felt discontent to engage in protests in order to claim the rights that the government had promised them. For this reason, the United States federal government put in place measures to ensure that each of the states had its own set down criterion for the provision of benefits to the veterans including health; however, a large majority of the amendments to laws dealing specifically with veterans were pushed by the veterans themselves such as the Servicemen's Readjustment



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