Tennessee Enacts Private Employer (Optional) Veterans' Preference Law

Miller & Martin PLLC Alerts | April 05, 2017

by Stacie Caraway

Tennessee has enacted a new law allowing (but not requiring) private employers to give hiring preference to:

  • honorably discharged veterans
  • spouses of a veteran with a service-connected disability
  • unremarried widows or widowers of a veteran who died of a service-connected disability
  • unremarried widows or widowers of a member of the military who died in the line of duty

A private employer adopting a veterans' preference must have the policy in writing and may require submission of a certificate of release or discharge from active duty, Department of Defense Form 214 (DD 214), as proof of eligibility for the veterans' preference employment policy.

Private employers choosing to implement such policy must apply it uniformly to employment decisions regarding hiring and promotion (i.e., while the decision as to whether or not to implement such a policy is discretionary, once the decision is made to do so, private employers cannot then "pick and choose" the positions they wish to use it with, etc.).

The preferences authorized by the new law are not considered violations of any state or local equal employment opportunity law, but no private employer is required to provide the preferences described in the new law in their hiring or promotion decisions.

The law was passed and became effective immediately on March 22, 2017.

For questions regarding this new Tennessee legislative development, please contact Stacie Caraway or any other member of our Labor & Employment Law Practice Group.

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