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Veterans Rewarded for Service with Tennessee's Veterans Preference Law

Ryan A. Tombul, Esq. and Craig R. Allen, Esq. \ 07-10-17

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A recently enacted law in Tennessee gives private employers the ability to give preference in their hiring practices to honorably discharged veterans and certain members of their family.

Specifically, Tennessee’s “Veterans Preference” law allows private employers to adopt an employment policy giving preference in hiring to honorably discharged veterans, spouses of veterans with a service-connected disability, unremarried widows and widowers whose veteran spouses died due to a service-connected disability, or unremarried widows and widowers of members of the US Armed Forces who lost their lives in the line of duty.

Implementation of any such policy by a private employer is not a requirement. If the employer chooses to implement the policy, however, it must be in writing and applied uniformly to all employment decisions pertaining to hiring and promotion. This law went into effect on March 22, 2017 and is codified as Tennessee Code Annotated § 50-1-107.

This law does not conflict with any of the provisions set forth under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Section 712 of Title VII explicitly states, “Nothing contained in this sub-chapter shall be construed to repeal or modify any Federal, State, territorial, or local law creating special rights or preference for veterans.”

If you have questions or concerns regarding your business’s hiring practices and exposure to liability, please do not hesitate to contact one of our offices today.