President Obama signs Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) to Hire Heroes Act
From Rudman Winchell Employment and Labor Law Group:
President Obama signed the Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) to Hire Heroes Act as of November 21, 2011. This new legislation generally provides for job training and transition assistance to veterans in an attempt to reduce unemployment of veterans generally.
We wanted to bring two of the more significant provisions of this Act to your attention.
First, it provides for tax credits to employers that hire veterans in amounts that vary depending on how long the veteran has been unemployed. Generally, it provides for up to $2,400 for veterans unemployed at least four weeks, up to $5,600 for veterans unemployed longer than six months, and up to $9,600 for disabled veterans unemployed longer than six months.
Second, the Act amends USERRA’s anti-discrimination provisions in a significant way. As you know, USERRA is the federal law that provides job protection to those serving in the uniformed services by prohibiting discrimination and requiring, within certain parameters, reemployment of returning service members. It applies to all employers in the public and private sectors, including Federal employers.
Prior to this Act becoming effective, courts had generally not recognized a cause of action for a hostile work environment under USERRA. The Act changes that by amending USERRA to prohibit discrimination with respect to the “terms, conditions, or privileges of employment,” which is the same standard for hostile environment claims under Title VII and other similar employment discrimination laws. Thus, the Act is intended to expand the types of claims available under USERRA.
If you have questions about this new law, please feel free to contact a member of our Labor and Employment Team at 207.947.4501