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February 29, 2012

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released two revised publications addressing the rights of veterans with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the agency announced Feb. 28.

The revised guide for employers explains how legal protections for veterans with disabilities differ under the ADA and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act and how employers can prevent disability discrimination and provide reasonable accommodation, EEOC said. The guide includes information on organizations that can help employers with finding qualified veterans for jobs and with researching accommodations.

The revised guide for wounded veterans answers questions that veterans with service-connected disabilities might have about the ADA and about their legal rights when seeking to return to their former jobs or enter the civilian labor force, EEOC said. The publication also explains the types of accommodations that might be necessary to help veterans with disabilities obtain and successfully maintain employment.

Both publications are available on EEOC’s website. They update guides that originally were posted in February 2008.

The revised guides reflect changes stemming from the ADA Amendments Act, which took effect Jan. 1, 2009, and makes it easier for veterans with a range of impairments, including traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder, to receive reasonable accommodations that will allow them to work, EEOC said.

Last November, EEOC heard testimony at a public meeting about the unique needs of veterans with disabilities in making the transition to civilian life. The challenges faced by such veterans in obtaining employment are receiving increased attention as more troops return from service in Iraq and Afghanistan, EEOC said.

Over the past 10 years, 3 million veterans have returned from military service and another 1 million veterans are expected to return to civilian life over the next five years, EEOC said. The Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics in October 2011 said unemployment for post-9/11 era veterans was hovering around 12 percent, more than 3 percentage points above the overall unemployment rate, EEOC said.  02.29.2012