Society has long understood that war can exact a heavy psychological toll on the soldiers, marines, sailors, airmen, and coast guardsmen who serve in the military. During WWI, servicemembers came home with shell shock. The psychological difficulties military men and women face have been diagnosed as “combat stress reaction,” “combat fatigue,” and “battle neurosis.” Since the 1980s, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been the prevalent diagnosis.
The psychological handicaps suffered by servicemembers are real, and given the sacrifices they have made, federal law protects veterans who enter the civilian workforce. Some of those protections, such as confidentiality for medical information, apply to all employees, whether or not they have served in the military. But others, such as those set forth in the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), are unique. Read on to see how one employee, if nothing else, reminded his employer of the unique duties owed to the employees who fight for our country.