Special offer 

Jumpstart your hiring with a $75 credit to sponsor your first job.*

Sponsored Jobs are 2.6x times faster to first hire than non-sponsored jobs.**
  • Attract the talent you’re looking for
  • Get more visibility in search results
  • Appear to more candidates longer

What is a Protected Veteran?

There are approximately 200,000 military service members who leave active duty every year. What is a protected veteran, and what does that mean for employers and your business? Learn more about this special protection class.

Post a Job
Create a Culture of Innovation
Download our free step-by-step guide for encouraging healthy risk-taking
Get the Guide

What is a protected veteran?

Protected veteran status is a system for qualifying veterans to prevent discrimination throughout all parts of the employment process.

This status was established by the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA). The act establishes four classes or types of protected veterans based on their status and outlines certain regulations to prevent discrimination.

According to U.S. Department of Labor, the VEVRAA typically applies to all companies that do business with the federal government. This includes contractor or subcontractor roles with the government.

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) provides protections against the discrimination of veterans. It protects people who serve their country in the National Guard or Reserves to ensure that they can keep their civilian employment and benefits when they return from service. It also seeks to prevent employment discrimination based on military service. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, disabled veterans are provided reasonable accommodations for those disabilities under the USERRA and VEVRAA.

What’s the difference between a veteran and a protected veteran?

Veterans are people who have served in active military, naval or air service. Once discharged or released from duty, as long as it’s not a dishonorable discharge, the person is considered a veteran.

Protected veterans must meet the requirements of one of the four specific conditions described in this guide. All protected employees under these provisions are typically veterans, but not all veterans will have the qualifying conditions to be considered a protected veteran.

Why employers need to know about protected veteran status

Understanding protected veteran status can ensure you’re creating a diverse workplace and complying with relevant laws. There are four main types of protected veterans. Each group has certain qualifications that employees must meet. To be a protected veteran, the service member cannot be dishonorably discharged. When asking yourself, “What is a protected veteran?” consider these four types.

1. Disabled veterans

Disabled veterans may qualify if they’re entitled to compensation based on the laws of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Veterans also may qualify if a service-related disability caused them to be discharged or released from active duty.

2. Recently separated veterans

A recently separated veteran is one who has been discharged or released from active duty in the previous three years. The three-year period starts on the date of discharge or release.

3. Armed Forces Service Medal veteran

Recipients of the Armed Forces Service Medal may qualify as protected veterans. These medals are awarded to active duty service members under Executive Order 12985.

4. Active duty wartime or campaign badge veteran

Campaign badges are authorized for certain wars, campaigns and expeditions as outlined in 38 U.S.C. § 101?† by the U.S. Department of Defense. Veterans who were on active duty during one of those events may qualify as protected veterans.

Benefits of hiring veterans

Hiring military veterans can offer your company many benefits beyond simply being compliant. Many veterans report that their military experience is helpful, with 29% saying it was “very useful” and another 29% saying it was “fairly useful” in giving them skills and training for civilian employment.

Active military duty often prepares employees for high-pressure situations. They often have very high standards for themselves and others, and they typically work efficiently when following established procedures.

Military service often puts employees in a variety of diverse situations. They often work with a wide range of people and learn how to cooperate with others regardless of their backgrounds. This can support a diverse workplace by employing people who respect and accept diversity.

Read More: 5 Ways to Integrate Military Talent Into the Workforce

Protections for protected veterans

Protected veterans who fall into one of the four categories are typically afforded protection against discrimination. Under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), their veteran status or military service can’t be used as the basis for employment decisions. These protections start with the recruiting and hiring process and are designed to make it easier for protected veterans to find civilian employment.

According to the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), a protected employee’s veteran status can’t be the reason for:

  • Denial of employment
  • Harassment
  • Demotions
  • Terminations
  • Lower pay
  • Unfair treatment

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a disabled veteran must also be given reasonable accommodations to do the job. This could include things like providing accessible print formats, modifying the work schedule and making the office environment more accessible.

Being a protected veteran can help former service personnel find quality civilian employment. It can help them do the job well by affording them accommodations. It can also help them advance by preventing discrimination regarding upward mobility.

Further reading

Post a Job
Create a Culture of Innovation
Download our free step-by-step guide for encouraging healthy risk-taking
Get the Guide

Ready to get started?

Post a Job

*Indeed provides this information as a courtesy to users of this site. Please note that we are not your recruiting or legal advisor, we are not responsible for the content of your job descriptions, and none of the information provided herein guarantees performance.

Editorial Guidelines