California Lawmakers Make Hiring Military Veterans Easier

A military man and a business person shake hands.

With millions of individuals returning from active duty in Afganistan and Iraq, civilian employers now have a legal reason to hire them.

When an individual's military service ends, veterans often find themselves facing long periods of unemployment. In the future, hiring military veterans in California, at least, should be a lot easier, thanks to a new the passing of AB 353, a law that allows employers in that state to create a hiring preference for veterans of all generations, not just from the Vietnam era under a previously passed federal law, according to the California Legislature. In light of the passing of AB 353, what should your organization do to revise its hiring practices?

1. Understand the Limitations of the Law

While it allows employers to express a preference for a veteran, the law does not allow hiring managers to discriminate against prospective employees that existing employment laws currently protect, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. It's a subtle distinction, but an important one that if violated could expose your firm to legal liability.

2. Educate Hiring Managers on the Law

Ensuring compliance with the law requires educating those involved in the hiring process on what the newly enacted law permits and prohibits. Be sure to test their understanding of the law.

3. Revisit Your Current and Future Hiring Needs

Since the law allows businesses to express a preference for hiring veterans, revisit your existing vacancies and those you anticipate creating in the future. In partnership with your firm's employment counsel, revise the job advertisements to reflect your preference for hiring a veteran.

While applying AB 353 requires a delicate balancing act between stating a preference for veterans and not discriminating against others, it provides an important stepping stone to help those that have dedicated a portion of their lives in service of the country.