Employers, take note: The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has refused to recognize veterans as a protected class under either Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act or under the Florida Civil Rights Act (FCRA).
That means claims based on military service must generally be brought under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).
Recent case: Army veteran John Woods applied for more than 30 positions at Florida Atlantic University. He also filed 24 separate complaints with the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs, claiming the university was violating USERRA and the Florida Veterans Preference Act (FVPA). The agency ordered the university to hire Woods for an open position.
But Woods didn’t last long. He was fired five months later for insubordination,and other problems. That’s when he sued under both Title VII and the FCRA, alleging he had been discriminated against because of his veteran status.
The court said vet status is not a protected characteristic under either law and tossed out the case. (Woods v. Florida Atlantic University, No. 10-12958, 11th Cir., 2011)
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