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How discharges can impact a veteran's employment opportunities

Veterans in Texas and elsewhere in the United States who are not honorably discharged may have difficulty finding employment. However, there is a middle ground between an honorable and dishonorable discharge, and those can be issued to those who are late or who use drugs. Some states are changing the rules to make sure that employers don't discriminate against those who were neither honorably or dishonorably discharged.

Connecticut has said that any policy that applies to all veterans who weren't honorably discharged is likely breaking the law. Illinois has made it illegal to base a hiring decision on a veteran's discharge status. In some cases, former members of the military were discharged because of a brain injury or because of symptoms from PTSD as opposed to breaking the law. Between 2011 and 2015, approximately 13,000 individuals were discharged under a status other than honorable while having PTSD or a traumatic brain injury. One man received a general discharge after he tried to commit suicide.

In 2017, a report from Protect Our Defenders found that African-Americans were more likely to be disciplined compared to white service members. Service members have also been discharged merely because of their sexual orientation, and that could put them at risk of being denied job opportunities under some current hiring policies.

Individuals who are discriminated against by an employer because of their discharge status may benefit from talking to an attorney. If a person was discharged because of their sexual orientation or because of a disability, it might be argued that an employer is basing an employment decision on those same grounds. An attorney may review evidence such as the reason for a discharge or statements from an employer to determine if an individual is the victim of workplace discrimination.

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