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Hiring Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) & Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Do's and Don'ts for Employers & Hiring Managers

When it comes to hiring veterans with TBI, PTSD and other disabilities or combat-related injuries, employers can follow these helpful hints to guide them through the hiring process.

Do! Don't!
Do learn where to find and recruit veterans with TBI or PTSD. Don't assume that veterans with TBI or PTSD are unemployable.
Do learn how to communicate with persons who have TBI or PTSD. Don't assume that veterans with TBI or PTSD lack the necessary education, training or skills for employment.
Do ensure that your applications and other company forms do not ask disability-related questions and that they are in formats that are accessible to all persons. Don't assume that veterans with TBI or PTSD do not want to work.
Do consider having written job descriptions that identify the essential functions of the job. Don't ask if a person has a disability or injury during an employment interview.
Do ensure that requirements for medical examinations comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Don't assume that certain jobs are more suited to persons with TBI or PTSD.
Do relax and make the applicant feel comfortable. Don't hire a person with a disability who is not qualified to perform the essential functions of the job even with a reasonable accommodation.
Do provide reasonable accommodations that the qualified applicant will need to compete for the job. Don't assume that you have to retain an unqualified employee with a disability.
Do treat an individual with TBI or PTSD the same way you would treat any applicant or employee-with dignity and respect. Don't assume that your current management will need special training to learn how to work with people with TBI or PTSD.
Do know that among those protected by the ADA are qualified individuals who have TBI or PTSD. Don't assume that the cost of accident insurance will increase as a result of hiring a person with TBI or PTSD.
Do understand that access includes not only environmental access, but also making forms accessible to people with cognitive or psychological disabilities. Don't assume that the work environment will be unsafe if an employee has a disability.
Do develop procedures for maintaining and protecting confidential medical records. Don't assume that reasonable accommodations are expensive.
Do train supervisors on making reasonable accommodations. Don't speculate or try to imagine how you would perform a specific job if you had the applicant's disability.
Do understand that a person with TBI or PTSD is on a course of recovery and reintegration with the community. Don't assume that you don't have any jobs that a person with TBI or PTSD can do.
Do expect, with proper access to treatment and support resources, that the person with TBI or PTSD will regain significant functioning in their work and personal endeavors. Don't make medical judgments.
Don't assume that a person with TBI or PTSD can't do a job due to apparent and non-apparent disabilities.
Don't assume that your workplace is accessible.

Information about other promising employer practices can be found on the America's Heroes at Work Web site:

This fact sheet was developed in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Office of Disability Employment Policy, the Job Accommodation Network, the Veterans' Employment and Training Service, the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, and the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center.

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