Lawmakers Propose Bill to Ban Discrimination Based on Military Service

Earlier this month, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.) introduced the Veterans and Service Members Employment Rights and Housing Act of 2013, a bill that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of military service or veteran status. The bill would amend the federal Fair Housing Act to add military status as being protected under the law for service members or veterans who want to rent or purchase a home. It would also allow veterans and service members facing employment discrimination to appeal grievances to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

“Shamefully, veterans who served our country return from deployment and too often struggle to find a job or a place to call home,” Blumenthal said in a press statement. “By making military service a protected status, this bill will ensure that those who sacrificed to keep us safe are not discriminated against when they return home.”

“Under no circumstances should the brave men and women of our Armed Forces face job or housing discrimination based on the service they provided our country, especially considering the sacrifices their families have already made in their absence,” said U.S. Representative Jim Renacci (R-Ohio), a lead co-sponsor of the bill in the House. “I am proud to join with this bipartisan group of Representatives and Senators to ensure our veterans are not punished once they return home having safely completed their missions.”

While many states have legal protections for veterans, and some states have already made veterans a protected class, there is no comprehensive federal law that protects all those who have served in uniform. The proposed bill would protect all military service members and prohibit housing discrimination. The bill is endorsed by AMVETS, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the National Guard Association of the United States.

Source: Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s Office; Rep. Jim Renacci’s Office