Many people who serve in the United States armed forces seek employment outside of the military, either during or after their service. While all veterans and active military personnel deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, unfortunately, it is a common occurrence for employers to discriminate against people who served. If you serve or served in the military and faced discrimination or harassment in the workplace in New Jersey, including during the hiring process, there are state and federal laws to protect your rights.
With offices in Red Bank, NJ, and Marlton, NJ, McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. represents both employees and employers throughout the state in a wide range of employment discrimination matters, including military employment discrimination in the workplace. Our attorneys will provide you with a clear and candid evaluation of any potential claims, as well as all legal options available to you.
Military Employment Discrimination Protections Under NJLAD
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) specifically prohibits employment discrimination, including harassment or retaliation, based on a person’s liability for services in the Armed Forces or status as a veteran. This includes:
- Any soldier, sailor, marine, airman, nurse, or field clerk that served for at least 90 days in the active military, naval or air service;
- Any employee who was honorably discharged from military service;
- Any employee in the National Guard, naval militia or Army reserves; and
- Any employee who received a service-related injury or disability, whether they served 90 days or not.
Federal Protections Against Military Discrimination
In addition to protections under the NJLAD, there are several federal laws in place that protect people against discrimination in the workplace based on military status, including:
- The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). This federal law prohibits employers from discrimination based on an employee’s past, current, or future service in the Armed Forces. This includes employees who have applied for service. Employers are also required to re-employ people who left their job to join the Armed Forces, in some circumstances. Employees protected include those who served in:
- The Navy
- The Army
- The Marine Corps
- The Coast Guard
- The Air Force
- The Army or Air National Guard
- The Public Health Service Commissioned Corps
- The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The FMLA grants eligible employees the right to take up to 26 weeks of leave to take care of a spouse or family member who has suffered serious injuries while serving in the military. Employers are also required to grant eligible employees 12 weeks of leave when a parent, spouse, or child in the National Guard or Reserves is deployed. Our experienced FMLA lawyers can help you determine whether you are eligible for leave under this law.
Veteran Protections Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) offers protection to disabled individuals in the workplace, including those who have served in the military. Under the law, employers cannot discriminate against a person with a physical or mental disability when hiring, compensating, promoting, or firing. The law also protects disabled people from suffering retaliation from an employer when they report violations of the law.
The ADA protects employees who have served in the military who have either a diagnosed disability, previous disability, or the employer assumes they have a disability. This can either be a physical injury or a mental impairment such as PTSD. Employers and prospective employers must provide reasonable accommodations to meet the needs of the disabled worker. Failure to do so is considered disability discrimination and a violation of the law.
What Constitutes Military Employment Discrimination?
Despite these laws, many veterans or active service members are still unfortunately subject to workplace discrimination, including harassment, wrongful termination, and retaliation, due to their association with the military. Individuals who have experienced such workplace discrimination may have been:
- Demoted, unfairly disciplined, or fired because of their military status;
- Denied promotions or other advancement opportunities based on their military status;
- Denied access to facilities or resources in the workplace due to their military status;
- Given differential treatment or compensation because of their military status;
- Subject to inappropriate jokes, remarks, stereotyping, or other behavior that contributes to a hostile work environment;
- Retaliated against for making a complaint about harassment; and/or
- Subjected to sexual harassment based on their military status;
At McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C, our attorneys believe that all employees are entitled to a workplace that is free from discrimination, including those that have served in the military. Our NJ military employment discrimination lawyers fight to obtain maximum compensation for those affected by workplace discrimination.
Representing Employers in Military Employment Discrimination Cases
Employers are responsible for creating a workplace atmosphere where discrimination based on military status is not encouraged or tolerated. The most important thing for employers is to take proactive measures to prevent, investigate, address, and defend any possible claims of discrimination. Employers facing accusations of discrimination must work closely with lawyers who can develop the strongest possible defenses to these claims. Our firm represents a wide range of employers to defend military or veteran discrimination claims.
Experienced NJ Veteran Discrimination Attorneys Can Help You
Whenever you feel you are being discriminated against in the workplace because of your military status, or you witness the discrimination of another, it is essential to reach out to the experienced veteran discrimination attorneys at McOmber McOmber & Luber. We will review the details of your case and help you determine if you should pursue action through the NJLAD or applicable federal laws.