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Does Your Construction Contracting Company Hire Protected Veterans?

March 19, 2020

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Cecilia De La Rosa

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If your company works with the federal government or even a state government, it’s understanding the laws regarding “protected veterans” is important to your business. Veteran protected status goes back to 1974 when the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Act (VEVRAA) was enacted into law. In a simple explanation, protected veterans is an affirmative action program that’s designed to ensure that veterans with a specific classification are not discriminated against. In today’s world that may sound odd.

However, it wasn’t long ago that employers didn’t want to hire a veteran, especially one considered a “protected veteran.” What is a Protected Veteran? There are four different classifications of protected veterans according to the Department of Labor:

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1. Disabled Veteran

“A veteran who served on active duty in the U.S. military and is entitled to disability compensation (or who but for the receipt of military retired pay would be entitled to disability compensation) under laws administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, or was discharged or released from active duty because of a service-connected disability.”

2. Recently Separated Veteran

“A veteran separated during the three-year period beginning on the date of the veteran’s discharge or release from active duty in the U.S. military.”

3. Armed Forces Service Medal Veteran

“A veteran who, while serving on active duty in the U.S. military, participated in a U.S. military operation that received an Armed Forces service medal.”

4. Other Protected Veteran

“A veteran who served on active duty in the U.S. military during a war, or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge was authorized under the laws administered by the Department of Defense.”

What are Employers Rights and Responsibilities?

The DOL states that employers working with the federal government have to comply fully with the regulations by offering jobs, accommodations, and other things to protected veterans. It also protects veterans from discrimination at these companies as well. “OFCCP protects the rights of employees and job applicants of companies doing business with the Federal Government,” the DOL states. Employers also have a responsibility not only to hire a protected veteran whenever possible. They must also make reasonable accommodations which include:

  • Accessible print formats (large print, Braille, audiotape, etc.)
  • Modified work schedules
  • Sign language interpretation
  • ‘Holding meetings and things of that nature in accessible areas
  • Ability to change work environments to be more accessible (such as offices and other environments)

While this list is not complete, it at least gives you an idea of a “reasonable accommodation” is and how it’s flexible. As always, this article is not to be construed as legal advice. We recommend that you reach out to an experienced attorney who is knowledgeable about issues related to protected veterans status.