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Veterans and Employment

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Online Toolkit Helps Employers Recruit and Employ Veterans

The federal government recognizes that challenges exist for employers who want to recruit and hire war veterans.  Many veterans, especially those who have seen combat duty, return to the workforce with medical conditions like post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) or traumatic brain injury from explosive-related concussions.  Veterans who are employees may require accommodations in order to successfully perform their work functions.

The medical conditions that veterans bring to the workplace may be unfamiliar to some employers, even those with significant experience negotiating reasonable accommodations for other employees with other types of disabilities or medical conditions.

Keep in mind that PTSD is not automatically a medical condition covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).  The ADA does not include a list of covered medical conditions.  Instead, the ADA defines disability as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity.  Therefore, some returning veterans with PTSD may be protected by the ADA, whereas others may not be.

Be that as it may, many employers wish to support returning veterans by offering employment and by offering accommodations so that veterans may perform their jobs.  But, how many employers know what kind of accommodations to offer to an employee with PTSD or a traumatic brain injury?

This is where “America’s Heroes at Work” comes in handy.  Published by the U.S. Department of Labor and launched in mid-December 2012, the America’s Heroes at Work website provides a comprehensive resource service for employers who wish to recruit, hire and retain veterans.  In addition to offering answers to frequently asked employer questions about veterans in the workplace, the America’s Heroes at Work website provides a step-by-step customizable toolkit that employers can use to design and implement a veterans’ recruitment and retention strategy.

America’s Heroes at Work answers questions that employers might have, such as:

  • Will a person with PTSD have violent outbursts at work? 
    “Employees who manage their symptoms through medication or psychotherapy are very unlikely to pose a threat. Employers may help reduce the overall stress in the work environment or mitigate known vulnerabilities to stress by providing a job accommodation.”
  • Does the law require employees or applicants with PTSD or traumatic brain injury to disclose their conditions when returning to or applying for a job?
    “No. Employees need only disclose their disability if/when they need an accommodation to perform the essential functions of the job.”

 

The America’s Heroes at Work website also provides access to a wealth of additional resources for employers who are seeking to offer employment to returning war veterans, wounded warriors and military spouses.

Reasonable accommodations that might support a veteran with PTSD in the workplace include scheduled rest breaks to prevent stimulus overload, job coaching, office locations in quiet areas, and job sharing.

 

 


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