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Military veterans are defined as people who have served in the United States active military, naval, or air service and who were discharged or released under honorable conditions. War veterans are further defined as people who meet the above criteria and who also served directly in combat during a time of war. Many veterans who return to the United States are in need of medical assistance for injuries that were either sustained during service or aggravated because of time served in the military. In addition to those who were disabled, there are plenty of others who need to either look for employment. Both of these groups have laws that protect them.

The United States has several laws in place for the sole protection of military veterans trying to reacclimate into society. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is is a civil rights law that prohibits any type of discrimination based on a person’s disability. Title I of that law is aimed at protecting veterans. Any veteran with a disability who meets the ADA’s definition is covered by this law, despite whether their disability was service-related. In addition, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) also works to protect veterans from employment discrimination. Its primary purpose is to protect the civilian employment of active and reserve military personnel in the United States who are returning from active duty. Many of them need to re-enter the workforce after a substantial period of time away. This law protects their right to do so, with or without a disability, based solely on their status as a veteran. 

Affirmative action prevents discrimination based on race, creed, color, or nationality. The Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) is a law that took this a step further by prohibiting federal contractors and subcontractors from employment discrimination against veterans. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) enforces VEVRAA, requiring any employer doing business with the Federal Government to take steps to recruit, hire, and promote veterans. It also makes it illegal for any of these companies to discriminate against veterans while making decisions about hiring, firing, salary, benefits, promotions, and other employment-related activities.