House Bill Boosts Veteran Employment

DENVER, CO– The House today advanced legislation on a preliminary vote that would encourage private employers to hire veterans by establishing a veterans hiring preference. 

“We have an all volunteer fighting force, and to keep it that way, we need to ensure that veterans have the opportunity to thrive after leaving military service,” said Rep. David Ortiz, D-Littleton. “Veterans, especially from our recent military engagements, face higher rates of unemployment, which can lead to challenges reentering civilian life. We can ensure that more veterans find good jobs and smoothly transition out of the armed forces by encouraging private employers to hire more veterans, which is a policy already in place in the public sector.”

Under HB21-1065, which is sponsored by Rep. David Ortriz, a private employer can give a preference to a veteran or the spouse of a veteran when hiring a new employee as long as the veterans or spouse is qualified. To address higher rates of unemployment among post-9/11 veterans, the bill allows an employer’s policy to include the preferential hiring of veterans who have been discharged in the last 10 years. Establishing a veterans hiring preference policy would be optional for employers. 

The bill includes safeguards against discrimination by still allowing a job applicant who is in a protected class to file a discrimination claim. This ensures that the bill will encourage the hiring of veterans without having unintended discriminatory impacts against women and people of color. Furthermore, the bill would offer businesses creating the hiring preference educational tools to help them navigate anti-discrimination laws so they can implement the policy fairly. 

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