Colorado Enacts New Preferential Hiring Legislation For Veterans – Employment and HR

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Colorado enacts new law to cease preferential hiring for veterans

August 04, 2021

Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP

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On June 23, 2021, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed a Veteran Hiring Preferences bill that allows employers to give preference to veterans in hiring decisions in the state of Centennial. Under the new law, CRS Section 8-1-153, private employers can establish a veteran recruitment policy in which they favor eligible veterans and eligible spouses of veterans over other applicants, as long as the veteran or spouse is as qualified as other applicants.

Individuals who qualify for Preference include: 1) Veterans who are 100 percent permanent and total disability and who have been discharged from service within 10 years of being hired; 2) Veterans who are less than 100% permanent and total disability and who have been discharged from service with a DD214 discharge document within five years of hiring; 3) members of the military reserve who were discharged from service with a DD214 discharge document within five years of their recruitment; 4) Members of the National Guard who were discharged from service with a DD214 dismissal document within five years of their recruitment; and 5) spouses of service members killed within five years of serving.

To implement a Veteran’s Preferential Hiring Policy, private employers must apply the policy consistently to all hiring decisions, require veterans to submit DD214 discharge documents, require veterans’ spouses to submit DD214 discharge documents and death certificates for the deceased service member, and publicly require the policy and in writing at least 14 days before the policy is applied to a job posting or hiring decision. Private employers are not required to set a veteran recruitment policy even if they are actively recruiting veterans to apply for a job.

In passing this bill, Colorado follows the passage of similar Congressional laws from the Civil War. Such laws allow federal agency veterans to be given priority recruitment to recognize victims serving in the armed forces. Just as federal employers do not violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by favoring veterans, private employers that have a veteran hiring policy in Colorado do not violate the employment rules of the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA).

The content of this article is intended to provide general guidance on the subject. Expert advice should be sought regarding your specific circumstances.

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