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OFCCP Releases new FAQs to clarify veteran definition


In August of 2015, the OFCCP released the attached infographic titled “Am I A Protected Veteran” with the goal of assisting veterans determine if they are protected under the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRRA).  The release of this information led to questions which have now been addressed in OFCCP’s two new FAQs, identified below.  All of the FAQs pertaining to VEVRAA can be found at:  http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/faqs/VEVRAA_faq.htm#content

Q: Does the infographic change the definition of "protected veteran" as defined in VEVRAA? 
A: No. The definition of "protected veteran" is established in the statute and cannot be changed by OFCCP. A veteran is a "protected veteran" under VEVRAA if he or she falls into one or more of the following categories: disabled veteran; recently separated veteran; active duty wartime or campaign badge veteran; or Armed Forces service medal veteran. The infographic does not change these categories. Rather, it clarifies which veterans are included in each category of protected veteran so that veterans will be able to determine, as a practical matter, whether they are protected by VEVRAA.

The infographic’s description of an "active duty wartime" veteran is broader than what many previously understood.

Q: How did OFCCP determine the scope of this category of protected veteran? 
A: The statute and regulations define an "active duty wartime" veteran as a veteran who served on active duty in the U.S. military during a war. Title 38, the title of federal statutes where VEVRAA is located, defines "period of war" as including World War II, the Korean conflict, the Vietnam era, and the Persian Gulf War, which is defined as August 2, 1990, to the present. Therefore, a veteran who served on active duty during any of those periods (and was not dishonorably discharged) is an "active duty wartime" veteran under VEVRAA. This is the same approach taken by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which administers most of the provisions in Title 38, when determining eligibility for various veteran benefits. See, for example, http://www.benefits.va.gov/pension/wartimeperiod.asp, listing the wartime periods eligible for VA pension benefits.

As addressed in the second FAQs, those veterans who served since August 2, 1990, even if no campaign badge was issue, are considered protected.  The clarification of “active duty wartime” may increase the number of people who self-identify as being a protected veteran.  This expanded definition does not require you to change your self-identification forms; however, you can do so if desired.  

Disclaimer: The foregoing has been prepared for the general information of clients and friends of Workplace Dynamics LLC and is not being represented as being all-inclusive or complete. It has been abridged from legislation, administrative ruling, agency directives, and other information provided by the U.S. Department of Labor. It is not meant to provide legal advice with respect to any specific matter and should not be acted upon without professional counsel.