By Debbie Gregory.
Employment anti-discrimination law in the United States derives from common law and a collection of state and federal laws, particularly the Civil Rights Act 1, as well as by ordinances of counties and municipalities. Only discrimination based on certain characteristics (protected categories) is illegal. The United States Constitution prohibits discrimination by federal and state governments. Discrimination in the private sector is not directly constrained by the Constitution, but has become subject to a growing body of federal and state law. Federal law prohibits discrimination in a number of departments, including recruiting, hiring, job evaluations, promotion policies, training, compensation and disciplinary action. State laws often extend protection to additional categories or employers.
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced a bill Thursday that would prohibit discrimination against military service members.
“Shamefully, veterans who served our country return from deployment and too often struggle to find a job or a place to live” Blumenthal said. The bill will make military service a protected status.
According to Blumenthal, S1281, the Veterans and Service Members Employment Rights and Housing Act, was needed because sometimes employers, realtors or landlords discriminate against veterans and services members.
S1281 allows veterans and service members facing discrimination to appeal their grievances to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Additionally, the Fair Housing Act would be amended to add military status as being protected for service members or veterans who want to rent or buy a home.
U.S. Representatives Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.) and Jim Renacci (R-Ohio) are sponsoring a companion measure in the House, HR2654.
Rep. Renacci joined a bipartisan effort to prohibit discrimination against veterans and service members seeking employment or housing opportunities. The Servicemember and Veterans Employment Rights and Housing Act – co-sponsored by Rep. Kilmer and Rep.Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) – was also introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).
Rep. Kilmer said it is a response to complaints he has received from service members and veterans about being denied housing and turned down for jobs, solely because of their military service.
“If you fight for our country, you should not have to fight for a job when you come home,” Kilmer said.