The Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) requires employers with federal contracts or subcontracts of $100,000 or more to take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment specified categories of veterans and prohibits discrimination against such veterans. In 2014, updates to VEVRAA strengthened these affirmative action obligations, including a requirement that employers establish annual hiring benchmarks for protected veterans. These updates went into effect at the same time as updates to Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act; both laws are administered by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).
VEVRAA’s categories of protected veterans include disabled veterans (in addition to recently separated veterans, Armed Forces Service Medal veterans, and Active Duty Wartime or Campaign Badge veterans). 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 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.
When requested, employers covered by VEVRAA are required to make reasonable accommodations for qualified disabled veterans, unless doing so would create an undue hardship. “Qualified” means the person satisfies the job-related requirements of the position he or she holds (or is applying for) and can perform its essential functions, with or without a reasonable accommodation.
OFCCP offers extensive information for employers on its VEVRAA webpage, including answers to frequently asked questions and resources to assist contractors in proactively recruiting protected veterans. Veterans.gov, a service of DOL’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service, is also a good source for guidance on how to effectively recruit and retain veterans, including disabled veterans.