Employing Veterans- 3 Ways To Avoid Discrimination Lawsuits

Hiring the right employees is an important part of any company's ongoing success. Because many companies receive hundreds of applications for each available position, elimination criteria is often used to help narrow the applicants to just a few viable candidates.

If you have veterans who apply for open positions within your company, you need to treat these applications with care. A lot of employers will automatically dismiss a veteran who received anything less than an honorable discharge. This practice could leave your company open to discrimination lawsuits. 

1. Give each veteran individual consideration.

There are many factors that can influence a veteran's discharge status. If you want to ensure that your company is protected against potential lawsuits, you should always evaluate each veteran on an individual basis.

Determine why the discharge status was assigned. Some veterans suffer from mental health conditions that necessitate their release from the armed forces. Others might have been dishonorable discharged for a minor infraction. The amount of time that has elapsed since the discharge should also be considered.

Many quality veteran candidates are overlooked for jobs because employers automatically rule out any veteran candidates with less-than-honorable discharges. Use the individual circumstances of the discharge to help you make more informed hiring decisions.

2. Give each veteran an opportunity to plead his or her case.

In order to better understand the mitigating circumstances that might surround a less-than-honorable discharge, you should allow each veteran applying for work with your company to plead his or her case.

The veteran can explain why the discharge status was assigned and offer an explanation as to why the discharge status no longer affects his or her ability to perform the tasks required to fill your company's open position. Giving each veteran applicant the opportunity to present evidence regarding his or her discharge will help you avoid discrimination lawsuits in the future.

3. Recognize that state and federal law prohibit you from discriminating based on a disability.

PTSD can have a negative effect on any veteran's life if he or she doesn't seek out the treatment needed to manage this disability. Behaviors that arise as a result of PTSD can serve as the basis for a less-than-honorable discharge.

You must recognize that you are obligated by both state and federal law to make reasonable accommodations for any qualified applicant suffering from a disability. PTSD could fall under this protected category, so don't let discharge status alone influence your hiring decisions. Work with an employment lawyer for more help.