By Wanda “Sistah Soldier” Petty,
President & CEO,
SHE VET, iNC
It happens a lot, but it’s actually against the law (Chicago Human Rights Ordinance) for any Chicago company (or person) to discriminate on account of one’s discharge status. If you feel that you have been the victim of such discrimination, you should discuss your case with Chicago’s Commission on Human Relations. They may be able to help you and let the employer know that discrimination is illegal.
In some cases, the discrimination is very evident, such as in Walmart’s program for hiring veterans: http://walmartcareerswithamission.com/why-walmart/veterans-welcome-home-commitment/
If you have been honorably discharged from the U.S. military within the last 12 months and meet our standard hiring criteria, there’s a position for you at Walmart or Sam’s Club.
Veterans who have been discharged from service more than 12 months ago are not eligible for priority status but will be highly valued candidates based on their training and experience.
There are other cases, however, where you may have been rejected for employment, but the employer does not tell you that it is because of your discharge status. When looking for a job, if you are asked for your DD-214, show the short form, because it shows all the information that the employer should have to determine if he wants to hire you. If he asks for the long form, you should give it to him, but if he fails to hire you, you can assume that it was on the basis of your discharge, and you should bring this to the attention of the Chicago Commission on Human Relations.
Commission on Human Relations
740 North Sedgwick Street
Chicago, IL 60654
Adjudication: Discrimination Cases
The City of Chicago has enacted two powerful anti-discrimination ordinances. The Chicago Human Rights Ordinance prohibits discrimination in employment, public accommodations, credit transactions, and bonding, as well as retaliation for filing a complaint at the Commission. The Chicago Fair Housing Ordinance prohibits housing discrimination. Both ordinances prohibit discrimination based on race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, disability, age (over 40), sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, parental status, marital status, military discharge status, and source of income.
The Commission on Human Relations may order a business or individual person who violates either ordinance to pay a fine up to $500 per incident, to pay damages and attorney fees to the complaining party, and to take specific actions to end discriminatory practices.
Commission staff can answer questions about filing a discrimination complaint and can help with drafting a complaint. After a complaint is filed, the Commission notifies each business or individual accused of discrimination by mail, with a deadline to submit a written response. The Commission investigates the complaint and decides whether there is “substantial evidence” of an ordinance violation. If “substantial evidence” is found, the case proceeds to an administrative hearing before a hearing officer and a final ruling by the Board of Commissioners. Board rulings can be reviewed and enforced through the state courts. Parties may settle a case at any time during the complaint adjudication process.
Sistah Soldier is an inspirational activist who helps veterans, women and minorities step into the call of God for their lives. She creates online courses and trainings to assist women transitioning in their careers. She’s the CEO, host, and executive producer of the SHE VET ™ iNSPIRES.com Television Show, and the executive recruiter for SHE WORKS Digital ™. Learn more at sistahsoldier.com.