A bill to end employment discrimination against veterans unanimously passed the Indiana House on Tuesday.
House Bill 1242 would make it illegal to refuse a person employment based on veteran status, either because they are a U.S. Armed Forces veteran, a member of the Indiana National Guard or of a reserve component.
Rep. Martin Carbaugh, R-Fort Wayne, said the bill was personal because he has a friend who served on the frontlines in Iraq in 2003. While his friend was able to obtain a job eventually, he did experience some discrimination for being a veteran, Carbaugh said.
“A lot of companies are looking for veterans to hire, and rightfully so,” Carbaugh said. “But there are some – and I don’t know why, I can’t figure it out – they are discriminating against our (veterans), against our reserves that are willing and able to serve us right now. I think that’s wrong.”
Rep. Karlee Macer, D-Indianapolis, one of the bill’s co-authors, said she was “shocked and saddened” during her research into how many veterans have been discriminated against.
Macer said she believes the reason some employers discriminate against members of the National Guard is that they wrongfully assume the applicant will be called to active duty and will have to leave the position once they’ve been hired. Ill-placed fears regarding post traumatic stress disorder also keeping employers from hiring vets.
“These men and women fight for our freedom and it’s ridiculous that anyone would not want them to be employed at their business or company,” Macer said. “I want to thank all the veterans, men and women, who have done their jobs for us and I would like us to do our jobs for them.”