Veterans’ Preference Requirements in the Public Sector

Most have heard of veterans’ preference in hiring at the federal level. Veterans who were honorably discharged and served in the armed forces during a period of declared war, armed hostilities, or active campaigns are granted five points, and those who were disabled are awarded 10 points. In addition spouses—and sometimes parents—of veterans are also given five points toward a total point score in an application process. But what does this mean if the employment is at a municipality or special district? Does this really apply?

In most states, the answer is yes. It certainly does in Arizona, Colorado, and Utah. In Colorado this is also true even if you are a home rule town or city, according to the constitutional language.

Now the question becomes, How does this actually work? Of course, each state has its own rules, but they tend to be similar. To start, the numbers of points above are the same in the majority of states and mirror the points at the federal level. Those who must provide five or 10 points do so when a numerical method for comparative analysis is used.

In other words, if you are scoring candidates numerically in any way, add five or 10 points, if applicable. In order to determine if someone should receive these points, ask for documentation for the service and discharge. This will verify the candidate’s eligibility. 

If you do not use a numerical scoring system, a closer look at your state statute and any promulgated rules is in order. As an example, in Colorado, if candidates for a position are chosen in a manner that does not involve a numeric score, they must be eligible for an interview.

Veterans may have preference if there is a layoff, and state laws should be examined for this, as well. 

If you are unsure how to proceed with veteran applicants, please do give us a call—we can help!