Employers’ Fears of PTSD Are Costing Veterans Civilian Jobs
As someone who represents Veterans, this topic makes me really frustrated.
According to a newly released survey, military veterans feel that they are facing discrimination at civilian job interviews – largely the result of employers who are apprehensive about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Indeed, of the veterans surveyed, one-in-ten have had interviews at which a potential employer raised concerns about them having mental illnesses as a result of their military service.
Seriously? What employer thinks it’s just totally okay to ask a Veteran about his or her PTSD?
“It’s absolutely wrong that veterans should be asked about it and also we need to correct this misperception that PTSD is an issue that is a barrier to employment, because I don’t think it is, as long as the individual is being assisted,” says Stuart Tootal, a former colonel who commanded 3 Para in Helmand during 2006.
However, even veterans who are receiving treatment for PTSD still face employment challenges – and this is where it gets even more frustrating.
Shaun Kettner, a marine veteran living with PTSD, was recently fired from his job at L&S Electric for bringing his service dog to work with him. According to Kettner, his Dutch shepherd named Sig has been a lifesaver, helping him focus when the stress becomes too great. But in March, the manufacturing and motor repair company placed Kettner on unpaid leave, saying that he had failed to complete the paperwork necessary to bring Sig to work. Kettner says the VA had refused to sign the paperwork over concerns that some questions asked violated HIPAA laws. While battling both the VA and his employer, Kettner received a letter saying that his job had been officially terminated.
You honestly cannot make stuff like this up.
What saddens me about these stories is that employers are missing out: Veterans possess many skills that are of great benefit to civilian employers. These include the ability to work in a team, the ability to work under pressure, adaptability, and leadership. However, many of these skills are overlooked by employers who are fearful of the mental health fallout from serving in the military, limiting veterans’ career opportunities when they return from service.
If this story sounds familiar to you, please contact our legal team here at Levine-Piro Law.
Service-connected compensation may be available to you if you suffer from a mental health condition due to or aggravated by your time in service. In addition, if that condition is interfering with your ability to work, you may be due additional benefits from the VA. Moreover, the VA offers retraining and education programs that can help Veterans rejoin the workforce after military service. Getting service-connected is the first step towards qualifying for some of these types of programs.
Our attorneys are passionate about making sure that Veterans receive the full compensation they deserve. We are especially adept at filing and litigating complex mental health claims related to military service. We also specialize in employment litigation and employment discrimination cases for both Veterans and non-Veterans. Contact us at (978) 637-2048 or firstname.lastname@example.org.