The Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act is a federal law that was initially passed in 1974, and it is one of two federal laws that expressly prohibit discrimination against veterans who are returning from active service and entering the private employment sector. Almost every employer in the USA, with a few exceptions, must stay in compliance with the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act is the second important federal law that prohibits discrimination against returning veterans with and without disabilities. The USERRA initially became federal law in 1994, and this act was amended in the year 2005. VEVRAA compliance is only mandatory for contractors and subcontractors who work for the federal government.
Why was the Original Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act Passed?
Returning Vietnam era veterans often faced discrimination when it came to employment in the private sector. This discrimination was seen in many ways but the end result was that returning veterans and veterans with disabilities typically had difficulty finding employment after their military service was over.
Read our article here about how new rules may allow benefits to Vietnam veterans.
Many veterans voice concern over disclosing disabilities for fear it will cause them to be dismissed from consideration for a job. These are brave men and women who have served our country with honor. Any discrimination against them in employment decisions is unacceptable. Many veterans with disabilities are still qualified to do work and be a productive member of society. Employment discrimination takes away this opportunity.
Why Were New Rules Proposed for the Act?
In spite of the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act and the legal protections that the act offered, veterans from many different wars, including those who have disabilities, still face employment barriers and discrimination today.
According to the Pew Research Center, about a third (33 percent) of all injured veterans served during the Vietnam era (1964-73).
The VEVRAA rule changes took effect on March 24, 2015, and the intent was to strengthen the protection that many veterans have against employment discrimination. This includes Vietnam era veterans but also many other categories of veterans as well. The changes included a strengthening of the requirements for affirmative action that federal contractors and subcontractors must meet. The goal is to improve the efforts that these employers are making to recruit qualified veterans as a top priority and give veterans the opportunity to gain employment.
How do These Rule Changes Affect Employers?
Only federal contractors and subcontractors are affected by the rule changes for the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act. Only employers who have $100,000 or more in federal contracts or subcontracts are required to follow the new rules. There are a number of things that the employers specified in the VEVRAA must do according to the new rules set last year.
Some of the new requirements that affected employers must meet include setting a hiring benchmark using methods outlined in the rule changes and inviting veterans to voluntarily self-identify. Employers who are subject to VEVRAA must also track just how effective their efforts are at recruiting and hiring veterans.
OFCCP review compliance is another requirement put in place by the rule changes. This means that the employer must provide access to any documents requested for focused reviews and compliance audits.
In addition to the previous changes, the latest version of the VEVRAA also requires employers who are affected by the act to provide job-listing access in a format that can be utilized by the veterans’ Employment Service Delivery Systems. These listings must show that the employer is a federal contractor. The rule changes also encourage employers to engage in positive recruitment and appropriate outreach efforts in order to target and reach veterans..
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