Some San Fernando Valley veterans with less than honorable discharges from the military may be concerned about the threat of discrimination when seeking jobs due to their discharge status. Many people with this discharge status were removed for minor offenses that would not be penalized outside the military. For example, one veteran said that he received a general discharge in 2007 because he attempted suicide, and he has experienced rejection when seeking jobs due to the discharge record.
In Connecticut, there has been recognition by the state’s human rights commission that these types of discharges were issued disproportionately to black, Latino, gay and lesbian and disabled veterans. Therefore, the state’s human rights commission informed employers that they could be responsible for workplace discrimination if they refuse to hire people with some types of discharges based on a blanket policy. The state of Illinois also prohibits discrimination in hiring on the basis of discharge status.
There are several types of discharges. An honorable discharge entitles a veteran to full benefits while a dishonorable discharge comes after a court martial and involves a serious offense, including felony criminal charges in many cases. Between the two, there are a number of general discharges referred to as “bad paper,” and the offenses cited can include tardiness, drug use or talking back to a senior officer. In addition, veterans who suffer from brain injuries or post-traumatic stress disorder may be disproportionately more likely to receive such discharges. Over 13,000 veterans with PTSD received other than honorable discharges between 2011 and 2015.
Employment discrimination can have a serious impact on people’s lives, preventing them from advancing in their careers or even from getting the opportunity to pursue gainful work. People who have been subject to workplace discrimination on the job may contact an employment lawyer to determine the next steps to pursue justice.