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November 29, 2002    DOL > VETS > Fact Sheets > Fact Sheet 8   

VETS Fact Sheet 8

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Program Highlights

Veterans' Employment and Training Service


The U.S. Government has laws to assist veterans who seek Federal employment from being penalized for their time in military service. Veterans who are disabled or who served on active duty in the Armed Forces during certain specified time periods or in military campaigns are entitled to preference over others in hiring from competitive lists of eligibles and also in retention during reductions in force. Preference applies in hiring for virtually all jobs, whether in the competitive or excepted service. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) administers entitlement to veterans' preference in Federal employment under title 5, United States Code, and oversees other statutory employment requirements in title 5 and 38. However, the veterans' preference laws do not guarantee veterans a job, nor do they give veterans preference in internal agency actions such as promotion, transfer, reassignment and reinstatement.

For more specific information on veterans' preference, OPM has developed the VetsInfo Guide. This guide explains how the Federal employment system works and how veterans' preference and the special appointing authorities for veterans operate within the system. It is available on the Internet at:

Veterans' preference administrative redress

The Veterans Employment Opportunities Act (VEOA) of 1998 provides that a veteran or other preference eligible person who believes that his or her rights under any law or regulation related to veterans' preference have been violated may file a written complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor's Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS). If a person believes his or her eligibility for preference in the Federal government is not being extended for the purposes of hiring or a Reduction in Force (RIF), that person may file a complaint, in writing, to VETS, within 60 days of the alleged violation. If VETS finds the case to have merit, we will make every effort to resolve it. If resolution cannot be achieved within 60 days, the claimant may appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), at which time VETS ceases all investigative activity. However, in cases where VETS is making progress and the claimant does not choose to appeal to the MSPB, investigative and resolution efforts by VETS may be continued indefinitely. If VETS determines the complaint to be without merit, the claimant still retains the right to appeal to the MSPB following receipt of the no-merit determination. If the MSPB has had such an appeal for 120 days and has not issued a judicially reviewable decision, the claimant may file a claim in the U.S. District Court, at which time MSPB will cease all activity on the claim. If the MSPB or the District Court find for the claimant, they may order the agency to comply with the applicable provisions of law and award compensation for any loss of wages or benefits.

A failure by a government official to knowingly fail to comply with veterans' preference requirements is now treated as a prohibited personnel practice (PPP). However, in the case of this particular PPP, the law stipulates that "corrective action" for the claimant (for example, reinstatement, back wages) is not available. Therefore, a claimant should go through the redress process with VETS first, in order to obtain the remedies discussed above. Following the redress process and after the claimant has been "made whole", then the case can go to the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) as a potential PPP. VETS does not investigate PPP cases. Information on OSC procedures and how to file a claim may be found at:

Information on veterans' preference is available on an interactive veterans' preference advisor program. The Internet site is:

To file a veterans' Federal employment preference claim, contact the VETS' office located in each of the States.They can be located in the "Blue Pages" of your telephone book. In addition, VETS' homepage web site contains a directory of VETS offices as well as information on this and other VETS programs and services.

This is one of a series of fact sheets highlighting U.S. Department of Labor programs.

It is intended as a general description only and does not carry the force of legal opinion.