Veteran and Service Member Employment

Federal contractors or subcontractors and veteran employment

You have the responsibility to treat protected veterans fairly.

Veterans are a ready source of qualified, committed job candidates with transferable skills proven in real world situations. The leadership skills and work ethic associated with military service are the hallmarks of good employees. In fact, studies have shown that veterans have higher than average rates of productivity and retention. Employers who recognize the value military service brings to the workplace and take affirmative action to hire veterans can also achieve greater diversity among their employees.


Along with rights and remedies they may have under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), some veterans who are employees of or applicants for jobs at covered federal contractors or subcontractors may be entitled to additional protections under the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA). A veteran is considered a “protected veteran” if they fall into one or more of the following categories: disabled veteran; recently separated veteran; active duty wartime or campaign badge veteran; or Armed Forces service medal veteran.


VEVRAA also requires covered federal contractors and subcontractors to establish hiring benchmarks and take proactive steps to recruit, hire, retain, and promote protected veterans. It’s illegal for you to discriminate against these employees when making employment decisions related to hiring, firing, pay, benefits, job assignments, layoffs, training, and other employment-related activities.

We’re here to help.

We are committed to helping you understand your responsibilities as an employer. Many questions about your responsibilities as a federal contractor toward protected veterans may be answered by using the following elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisors:

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) oversees and enforces VEVRAA, the law regarding discrimination based on protected veteran status, including disabled veterans, by federal contractors and subcontractors.


For additional assistance, please contact:

OFCCP: 1-800-397-6251

Covered federal contractors and subcontractors have certain administrative and reporting requirements related to their nondiscrimination and, if applicable, affirmative action responsibilities regarding protected veterans. These requirements may include (in addition to maintaining basic personnel and employment records) adding an equal opportunity clause into subcontracts, developing a written Affirmative Action Program, and reporting data on applicants’ and employees’ veteran status. This data is generally collected through invitations to applicants and employees to voluntarily self-identify as a protected veteran. 


Even if you’re not a federal contractor or subcontractor, you’re generally prohibited from discriminating against employees based on their veteran or service member status. It’s not always obvious when a situation can be considered discrimination under the law. It’s in your best interest as an employer to familiarize yourself with these laws and contact the Federal Government if you have questions. 

Man and military man completing paperwork together at a desk
Need more information?

The elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisors are a set of online tools developed by the U.S. Department of Labor to help employees and employers understand their rights and responsibilities under federal employment laws.