Veterans - Know Your Rights

Know Your Rights

The U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance – or OFCCP, enforces affirmative action and equal opportunity employment for veterans. Under laws such as the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA), employers doing business with the Federal government need to take action to recruit and hire protected veterans, and cannot discriminate against this group as a matter of law. The OFCCP defines protected veterans as disabled veterans, recently separated veterans and Armed Forces Service Medal veterans. The Federal government also grants hiring preference to disabled veterans, and veterans when hiring for government jobs.

What veterans’ rights are protected?

  • The right to work in a discrimination–free work environment; not being denied employment, harassed, demoted, terminated, paid less or treated less favorably because of your veteran status.
  • If you are a disabled veteran, you can request – and your employer must provide –"reasonable accommodation" so that you can perform your job. A reasonable accommodation is defined as one that does not incur a significant expense on behalf of the employer.
  • During the application process, disabled veterans must be provided with reasonable accommodation and be considered for jobs.

For veterans looking for resources to find employment, state unemployment One–Stop Career Centers are one of the best resources, as these provide everything needed to find a job, including training and employer referral programs. For more information, visit here.

You can also visit the National Resource Directory (NRD), which is sponsored in part by the Department of Veterans Affairs. NRD also provides assistances with employment, as well as education programs and other training resources veterans can tap into.

For more information on veterans rights and access to employment resources, visit here.

How the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) Benefits Veterans

As a veteran there are various laws that benefit you, one of which is the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act – or VEVRAA. Congress established VEVRAA in 1974 to provide assistance to Vietnam veterans returning home from the war and ensure there is no discrimination in the hiring process.

Enforced by the Department of Labor, VEVRAA mandates that federal contractors and subcontractors who have contracts with the government take affirmative action and make jobs available to qualified veterans, including disabled and Vietnam era veterans, covering the years of 1964–1991.

The 2002 Jobs for Veterans Act (JVA) amended the order to include special disabled and disabled veterans, veterans who have enlisted in the Armed Forces and those in the active reserves or National Guard.

As a result of VEVRAA, employers are required to take affirmative action and comply with a mandatory job–listing provision to list their employment openings with local state employment services, giving preference for job openings to vets. If federal contractors do not comply with this order, they will lose their federal contract.

The Department of Labor classifies protected veterans as follows:

  • "Veteran of the Vietnam era" – a veteran of the U.S. military, ground, naval, or air service, any part of whose service was during the period August 5, 1964 through May 7, 1975, who served on active duty for a period of more than 180 days. "Vietnam era veteran" also includes any veteran of the U.S. military, ground, naval, or air service who served in the Republic of Vietnam between February 28, 1961 and May 7, 1975.
  • A "special disabled veteran" is a person who is entitled to compensation under laws administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs for a disability rated at 30 percent or more; or, a person who was discharged or released from active duty because of a service–connected disability.
  • A "disabled veteran" means a veteran who served on active duty in the U.S. military ground, naval, or air service and is entitled to disability compensation, or was discharged or released from active duty because of a service–connected disability.
  • "Protected veteran" means any other veteran who served on active duty in the U.S. military ground, naval, or air service during a war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized.