Veterans’ Preference

You may have the right to preferential consideration for certain federal government jobs.

Veterans’ Preference gives eligible veterans preference in appointment to certain federal government jobs over many other applicants. By law, qualified veterans with a service-connected disability or who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces during specified time periods or in military campaigns may be entitled to preference over non-veterans in competitive appointments for federal civil service positions and in retention during reductions in force.

We’re here to help.

We are committed to helping you understand your rights as a worker. Many questions about your rights may be answered by using the following elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisors:

The Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) is authorized to investigate and resolve complaints of violations regarding Veterans’ Preference.


For additional assistance, please contact:

VETS: 1-866-4-USA-DOL (TTY 1-877-889-5627)

If you feel you have been discriminated against because of your status as a veteran or service member or because you have attempted to enforce your rights, or someone else’s rights, as a veteran or service member, you have the right to file a complaint and participate in an investigation without being retaliated against by an employer.

It is important to note that veterans’ preference does not guarantee veterans a job and it does not apply to internal agency actions such as promotions, transfers, reassignments, and reinstatements.

Additionally, not all active-duty service members qualify for veterans’ preference upon separation from the armed services. To be eligible, you have to meet certain conditions.

Federal law also prohibits federal government employers from denying jobs to service members or veterans based on their past, present, or future uniformed service.

Additional resources

Need more information?
The elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisors are a set of online tools developed by the U.S. Department of Labor to help employees and employers understand their rights and responsibilities under Federal employment laws.