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A Message from EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows on Veterans Day 2023

Dear Colleagues: 

As we observe Veterans Day on November 11, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) salutes the service and sacrifice of our agency’s talented veterans, who bring a vital and unique perspective to the work we do in preventing and remedying employment discrimination, advancing equal opportunity for all, and strengthening the American workforce.  We also express our enormous appreciation for veterans nationwide and recommit to using every tool at the Commission’s disposal to protect and support the workplace rights of these selfless patriots. 

As recently noted, “according to Wounded Warrior Project’s Annual Warrior Survey, mental health issues accounted for three of the top four most common service-connected injuries among veterans registered with the nonprofit who served either on or after 9/11.”  The Commission has prioritized within our Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) for Fiscal Years 2024-2028 the workplace rights of all workers facing mental health disabilities as we continue to actively support the President’s comprehensive national strategy to transform how mental health is understood, accessed, treated, and integrated in and out of health care settings.

In that spirit, the EEOC and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently partnered to provide joint training to 600 VA mental health providers, “Inclusion Unlocked: The Legal and Ethical Implications of Reasonable Accommodations for Mental Health Providers.”  This collaborative program highlighted promising and innovative practices for VA mental health providers to implement in assisting clients who seek entry into the workforce or to retain an existing job and included in-depth information and resources for VA mental health providers on how they can support their clients’ requests for reasonable accommodation in the workplace. 

While elevating the issue of mental health, in the last year, the EEOC also engaged in inter-agency coordination to increase awareness more broadly of the federal protections that prohibit unlawful employment discrimination against service members and veterans.  Together with the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, DOL’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service, and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, the EEOC jointly-authored and published a resource document, “Protections Against Employment Discrimination for Service Members and Veterans,” which, for the first time, provides a single publication to help veterans and service members determine which laws and federal agencies are responsible for enforcing their workplace rights and where to seek assistance if they believe those rights have been violated. 

In addition to providing information about laws that specifically protect service members and veterans, the document explains general protections from retaliation, disability discrimination, sexual harassment, and other covered bases.  Members of the military serve our country at great personal sacrifice, and it is essential that we ensure they know their workplace rights and how to enforce them if they experience discrimination. 

As conveyed in the President’s 2023 Proclamation on National Veterans and Military Families Month, “[t]his year — as we celebrate 50 years of an all-volunteer force — may we also recognize the bravery and dedication of our military and veteran families and work to repay the debt of gratitude we owe each one of them.”  The EEOC will strive to continue repaying this debt by assisting to promote equal employment opportunity for all veterans.


With gratitude,

Charlotte A. Burrows (she/her/hers)


U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

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