Skip to Main Content

elaws - employment laws assistance for workers and small businesses

- Employment Law Guide

Federal Contracts-Equal Opportunity in Employment: Employment Nondiscrimination and Equal Opportunity for Covered Veterans

Updated: September 2009


Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA), as amended;
41 CFR Part 60-300
(/cgi-bin/leave-dol.asp?exiturl=http://s.dol.gov/9R&exitTitle=www.ecfr.gov&fedpage=yes)

Who is Covered

The nondiscrimination and affirmative action provisions of the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, as amended, 38 U.S.C. 4212, (“VEVRAA” ) are administered by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) and the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS). VEVRAA generally covers employers with federal contracts or subcontracts that meet the threshold amount specified in the statute. The employer is covered under VEVRAA if the federal contract or subcontract is in the amount of $100,000 or more. Contracts covered by VEVRAA are subject to the implementing regulations found at 41 CFR Part 60-300.

The following types of contracts and subcontracts are not covered under VEVRAA:

  • Those for less than $100,000;
  • Those for indefinite quantities where the agency determines that the cost in any one year will not exceed $100,000;
  • Those for work that is performed outside the U.S.; and
  • Those with state or local governments, except for the specific government entity that participates in work on or under the contract.

The Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs may grant a waiver from the requirements of VEVRAA in the following circumstances:

  • For specific contracts, subcontracts, or purchase orders, if special circumstances in the national interest require such an exemption;
  • For facilities not related to performance of the contract, as determined by the Deputy Assistant Secretary upon written request by the contractor; and
  • Contracts and subcontracts involving national security, if the head of the contracting agency determines both that the contract is essential to national security, and noncompliance with a particular requirement of VEVRAA or the regulations with respect to the process of awarding the contract is essential to national security.

The categories of veterans covered under VEVRAA are disabled veterans, recently separated veterans (within three years of discharge or release from active duty), active duty wartime or campaign badge veteran, and veterans who, while serving on active duty in the Armed Forces, participated in a U.S. military operation for which an Armed Forces Service Medal was awarded pursuant to Executive Order 12985 (61 FR 1209).

VEVRAA and its implementing regulations apply only to the specific state or local government entities that participate in work on or under a Federal contract or subcontract. The coverage is narrower than that which applies to employers in the private sector.

Definitions

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.

“recently separated veterans” means any veteran who served on active duty during the three-year period beginning on the date of such veteran’s discharge or release from active duty.

An “Armed Forces Service Medal veteran” means a veteran who, while serving on active duty in the U.S. military ground, naval, or air service, participated in a United States military operation for which an Armed Forces service medal was awarded pursuant to Executive Order 12985 (61 Fed. Reg. 1209).

An “Active Duty Wartime or Campaign Badge veteran” means a veteran who served on active duty in the U.S. military, ground, naval or air service during a war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized, under the laws administered by the Department of Defense.


Basic Provisions/Requirements

The regulations implementing VEVRAA include the obligation to refrain from discrimination in employment against protected veterans. The regulations also require all covered contracts and subcontracts to include a specific equal opportunity clause. The regulations provide the required language for this clause at 41 CFR 60-300.5.

In addition, VEVRAA requires contractors and subcontractors to list most employment openings with an appropriate employment service delivery system. Exempted from this mandatory job listing requirement are executive and top management positions, positions that will be filled from within the contractor’s organization, and positions lasting three days or less. Listing employment openings with the State workforce agency job bank or with the local employment service delivery system where the opening occurs will satisfy the requirement to list jobs with the local employment service delivery system.

Covered contractors and subcontractors are also required to make reasonable accommodations for the known physical or mental limitations of qualified disabled veterans, unless providing an accommodation would create an undue hardship. In addition, covered contractors and subcontractors are required to take all necessary actions to ensure that no one attempts to intimidate or discriminate against any individual for filing a complaint or participating in a proceeding under VEVRAA.

Affirmative Action Program. Under the regulations implementing VEVRAA, certain contractors and subcontractors are required to have a written affirmative action program (AAP). Each contractor or subcontractor that has (1) 50 or more employees, and (2) a federal contract or subcontract of $100,000 or more, must prepare, implement, and maintain a written AAP for each of its establishments.


Employee Rights

Employees and applicants for employment with a covered contractor or subcontractor have the right to file a complaint with OFCCP if they believe that the contractor or subcontractor has discriminated against them on the basis of their status as a protected veteran or otherwise violated VEVRAA and its implementing regulations. Such complaints may be filed online at OFCCP’s How to File a Complaint Web page(http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/pdf/pdfstart.htm).


Recordkeeping, Reporting, Notices and Posters


Notices and Posters

Contractors and subcontractors who have a covered Federal contract or subcontract are required to post the EEO notice, “Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law” poster. The notice must be posted prominently, where it can be readily seen by employees and applicants for employment, (e.g., personnel office, work-out facility, lunchroom, or company bulletin board). The contractor must ensure that applicants or employees who are disabled veterans are informed of the contents of the notice (e.g. provide the notice is an alternate format, such as large print or audio recording, or lower the posted notice so that it can be read by a person in a wheelchair).

The notice is also available in Spanish(http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/posters/pdf/eeosp.pdf) and Chinese(http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/posters/pdf/eeopost(chinese).pdf). Posting of the notice in languages other than English is not required.

Contractors that have the obligation to develop a written AAP under VEVRAA must post a notice at each establishment providing the location and hours the AAP may be obtained. Additionally, the policy statement required by a VEVRAA AAP must be posted on company bulletin boards and applicants and employees who are disabled veterans must be informed of the contents of the policy statement (for example, the contractor may provide the notice is an alternate format, such as large print or audio recording, or may lower the posted notice so that it can be read by a person in a wheelchair).


Recordkeeping

Personnel and other employment records. Federal contractors and subcontractors are required to preserve any personnel or employment records made or kept by the contractor or subcontractor for a period of not less than two years from the date of the making of the record or the personnel action involved, whichever occurs later. Contractors and subcontractors with fewer than 150 employees or who do not have a government contract or subcontract of at least $150,000 only need to keep records for one year from the date of the making of the record or the personnel action involved, whichever occurs later.

Examples of records that must be maintained include, but are not limited to:

  • Job descriptions
  • Job postings and advertisements
  • Records of job offers
  • Applications and resumes
  • Interview notes
  • Tests and test results
  • Written employment policies and procedures
  • Personnel files

Reporting

Federal contractors or subcontractors with a federal contract or subcontract of $100,000 or more , are required to complete and submit the VETS-4212 Report showing the numbers of protected veterans hired or employed during the reporting period. The VETS-4212 Report may be completed online.

Note that contractors may be asked to submit AAPs or other employment records to OFCCP if selected for a compliance evaluation or because of a complaint investigation.


Penalties/Sanctions

OFCCP investigates for violations of the Act either through compliance evaluations or in response to complaints. If a violation is found, OFCCP may ask the federal contractor or subcontractor to enter into conciliation negotiations. If conciliation efforts succeed, the contractor will enter into a binding conciliation agreement with OFCCP that includes corrective action the contractor will take, and may also include the submission of follow-up reports from the contractor, for a fixed period of time, to assure compliance. If conciliation efforts fail, OFCCP may initiate an administrative enforcement proceeding by filing an administrative complaint against the contractor or subcontractor.

If OFCCP files an administrative complaint, the matter will be referred to an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), who hears the case and recommends a decision. The Department of Labor’s Administrative Review Board issues final decisions. If the contractor or subcontractor is dissatisfied with the ALJ's decision, it may appeal the decision to the Board.

If the Board finds that the contractor or subcontractor has violated VEVRAA, it may order the contractor or subcontractor to provide appropriate relief, which may include restoration of back pay and employment status and benefits for the victim(s) of discrimination. Depending upon the circumstances, violations also may result in cancellation, suspension, or termination of contracts, withholding of progress payments, or debarment.


Relation to State, Local, and Other Federal Laws

There are no related state or local laws.


Compliance Assistance Available

The Department of Labor provides employers, workers, and others with clear and easy-to-access information and assistance on how to comply with the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act. Among the many resources available are:

  • elaws Federal Contractor Compliance Advisor: Helps Federal contractors and subcontractors answer basic questions about coverage and compliance issues related to the equal employment opportunity laws administered by OFCCP.
  • OFCCP’s Webpage on VEVRAA – Includes FAQs, recruitment resources and other materials to assist federal contractors in achieving their goals under VEVRAA.

Additional compliance assistance including explanatory brochures, fact sheets, and regulatory and interpretive materials is available on the Compliance Assistance “By Law”(http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/ca_vevraa.htm) Web page.


DOL Contacts

Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP)(http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/)
E-mail: OFCCP-Public@dol.gov
Tel: 1-866-4USADOL (1-866-487-2365) or 1-800-397-6251; TTY: 1-877-889-5627

Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS)(http://www.dol.gov/vets/)
E-mail: contact-vets@dol.gov
Tel: 1-866-4USADOL (1-866-487-2365) or 1-202-693-4770; TTY: 1-877-889-5627

The Employment Law Guide is offered as a public resource. It does not create new legal obligations and it is not a substitute for the U.S. Code, Federal Register, and Code of Federal Regulations as the official sources of applicable law. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is complete and accurate as of the time of publication, and this will continue. Later versions of this Guide will be offered at www.dol.gov/compliance or by calling our Toll-Free Help Line at 1-866-4-USA-DOL (1-866-487-2365) (1-866-487-2365).

Table of Contents