Although the Armed Forces is one of the few institutions in which women receive equal pay for equal work, when women veterans return to civilian life, they face unequal pay and disproportionately high rates of unemployment and homelessness. U.S. Senate candidate Rodney Glassman is calling for the creation of a Veteran Employment Discrimination Prevention (VEDP) office and various training and support programs targeted toward women service members and veterans.

“Women are an increasing segment of our Armed Forces,” said Glassman. “It is unconscionable that we allow them to return to civilian life only to face unfair wages and discrimination.”

“Despite his admirable military service, McCain has repeatedly and vocally opposed expanding health benefits for veterans and the 2008 GI Bill, which provided much-needed educational opportunities for our troops. McCain’s record protecting women’s rights has been hallmarked by his adamant objections to the Fair Pay Act, which advanced women’s rights to take legal action when employers are caught discriminating against women.”

Both men and women veterans face frequent employment discrimination after returning to civilian life, and women earn an average of $10,000 less per year than their male counterparts.

Over the last year, the unemployment rate for women veterans has nearly doubled to about 11 percent, and women veterans are about four times more likely to be homeless than male veterans.

“As a woman and a veteran, I truly appreciate Rodney’s focus on preventing veteran employment discrimination,” said Major Susan Parker-Hotchkiss (USAF, ret.). “This is exactly the type of leadership we need in Washington to ensure our service members have the opportunities they deserve when they return to civilian life.”

As part of a broader effort to address discrimination against all veterans and military service members, the proposed Veteran Employment Discrimination Prevention (VEDP) office would be housed within the Veterans’ Employment and Training Services (VETS) agency of the U.S. Department of Labor.

The VEDP would provide the following services:

  • Operate a central hotline for veterans to report and seek information regarding veteran employment discrimination;
  • Proactively inform veterans and service members of their legal rights to fair and equitable employment;
  • Allow attorneys to register in a database, so veterans and service members can access proper legal resources within their communities; and
  • Offer a specialized course on identifying and reporting veteran employment discrimination through the Transition Assistance Program (TAP).

Glassman is also seeking to broaden the range of services provided to service members and veterans by establishing the following:

  • Expand counseling and services to veterans and transitioning service members that focus on managing family life while seeking work;
  • Provide temporary child support for veterans re-entering the civilian workforce who are single parents; and
  • Early outreach to women preparing to leave the service (12-24 months before leaving the service) and longer support after they return to civilian life (12-18 months).

“I’ve been encouraged by the recent progress made in Congress toward supporting our troops’ health and employment opportunities,” said Glassman. “But I hope we can cast a national spotlight on veteran employment discrimination as something we need to immediately address.”

The Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010 was recently signed into law and provides a wide range of programs that support veterans’ health, including programs specifically targeted toward women’s health and homeless veterans. A bipartisan Veterans Employment Act of 2010 is currently moving through the Senate and would provide funding for training and small business support for veterans. Neither of these pieces of legislation specifically address veteran employment discrimination.

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