Colorado Enacts New Preferential Hiring Law for Veterans
By: Sarah E. Graves
On June 23, 2021, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed a Veterans’ Hiring Preference law that will allow employers to show preference to veterans in hiring decisions in the Centennial State. Under the new law, C.R.S. § 8-1-153, private employers may enact a Veterans’ Preference Hiring Policy in which they prefer eligible veterans and eligible spouses of veterans over other applicants as long as the veteran or spouse is as qualified as other applicants.
Persons qualified for the preference include: 1) veterans who have a 100% permanent and total disability rating and were discharged from service within 10 years of hiring; 2) veterans who have less than a 100% permanent and total disability rating and were discharged from service with a DD214 discharge document within five years of hiring; 3) members of the military reserves discharged from service with a DD214 discharge document within five years of hiring; 4) members of the National Guard discharged from services with a DD214 discharge document within five years of hiring; and 5) spouses of service members killed in the line of duty within five years of hiring.
To implement a Veterans’ Preference Hiring policy, private employers must apply the policy uniformly to all hiring decisions, require veterans to show DD214 discharge documents, require spouses of veterans to show DD214 discharge documents and death certificates for the deceased service member, and produce the policy publicly and in writing at least 14 days before applying the policy to a job posting or hiring decision. Private employers are not required to have a Veterans’ Preference Hiring Policy even if they actively recruit veterans to apply for employment.
In enacting this law, Colorado follows Congress’ enactment of similar laws dating back to the Civil War. Such laws allow preference for hiring veterans in federal jobs in order to recognize the sacrifices made by those serving in the armed forces. Just as federal employers do not violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964’s prohibition on discriminatory or unfair employment practices by preferring veterans, private employers enacting Veterans’ Preference Hiring Policies in Colorado do not violate the employment provisions of the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA).
For more information on this new law, contact the author of this post. You can also subscribe to this blog to receive email alerts when new posts go up.