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What You Should Know: EEOC and Employment Opportunities for Disabled Veterans

Background: Over the past decade, three million veterans have returned from military service and another one million are expected to return to civilian life over the course of the next five years.  The particular challenges faced by veterans with disabilities in obtaining employment has been the subject of increased attention in recent months, as large numbers of veterans return from service in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Twenty-five percent of veterans of recent conflicts report having service-connected disabilities, as opposed to only 13 percent of all veterans, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to a recent report this fall from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment for veterans hovers around 10 percent, which is more than three percentage points higher than the overall unemployment rate.

Through our private sector enforcement and litigation efforts, our policy and outreach work, and through our federal sector hearings, appeals, and coordination work, EEOC employees perform important services to veterans, ensuring that their rights to equal employment opportunity are upheld. 

Below is a summary of what EEOC is doing for Veterans:

  • The EEOC held a public meeting on Nov. 16, 2011 entitled "Overcoming Barriers to the Employment of Veterans with Disabilities." In that meeting, the Commission heard testimony from a panel of experts on the unique needs of veterans with disabilities transitioning to civilian employment. 
  • The EEOC issued two revised publications addressing veterans with disabilities and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The revised guides, for employers and veterans, reflect changes to the law stemming from the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, which make it easier for veterans with a wide range of impairments - including those that are often not well understood, such as traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) -- to get needed reasonable accommodations that will enable them to work successfully. 
  • Based on preliminary tallies, EEOC personnel conducted outreach to veterans and service members at a total of 120 events that reached over 8,600 people over the course of FY 2013. This outreach can make an enormous difference in veterans' civilian work experience by familiarizing them with the rights the ADA affords people with disabilities in the workplace. 

These are only highlights of EEOC's work in this area. We remain committed to removing barriers to employment for veterans with disabilities. 

"We want veterans with disabilities to know that the EEOC has resources to assist them as they transition to, or move within the civilian workforce," said EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien."