Oregon Veterans' Preference in Employment

The University of Oregon complies with the Oregon Veterans' Preference in Public Employment law which provides qualifying veterans and disabled veterans with preference in employment.  

Training & Process Guide:

Talent Acquisition offers a video presentation about applying veteran's preference to the search process. This training provides information on identifying veteran and disabled veteran applicants in MyTrack, requirements and best practices for applying veteran's preference, and key take-aways and tools.

Employees and applicants must be given the opportunity to self-identify as eligible veterans.  Self-identification is administered through the MyTrack talent management system.  Both external and internal candidates are given the opportunity to establish veteran status when submitting an application for an available position. The University requires that eligibility documentation be submitted for each application in which the veteran wishes to receive preference; veterans who do not submit required documentation for a search will not receive preference regardless of whether application materials indicate service in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Veteran's Preference: Description

The Oregon Veterans' Preference in Public Employment (ORS 408.230) legislation requires that public employers grant a preference in employment to eligible veteran or disabled veteran applicants who meet minimum qualifications and any special qualifications for the position to which they apply.  The required preferences do not compel a public employer to appoint a veteran or disabled veteran.  However, they do require that an eligible veteran or disabled veteran be appointed when the veteran’s or disabled veteran’s application assessment, combined with the veteran’s or disabled veteran’s preference, is equal to or higher than that of a non-veteran.  

Public employers in Oregon are also subject to the Interviews of Veteran Applicants for Public Service Position Required (ORS 408.237) legislation. Under ORS 408.237, public employers must interview each eligible veteran who:
  1. Meets the minimum and special qualifications for the merit based, competitive open position; and
  2. Submits  application materials that the employer determines show sufficient evidence that the veteran has the transferable skills required and requested by the employer for the position.

Eligible veterans that meet minimum and special qualifications are also entitled to receive preference at each stage in the hiring process in which they participate (see Summary of Procedures for Applying Veterans' Preference Section below).

Summary of Procedures for Applying Veterans' Preference

This summary highlights the basic steps necessary to implement the Oregon Veterans’ Preference regulations and does not attempt to address all possible selection process procedures. More specific information is included in the Oregon Veterans’ Preference Hiring Process Guidance. Implementation Guidelines sections (specific sections noted below). Search chairs are strongly encouraged to review this guidance with committee members prior to candidate review. Search committees may request a search committee briefing from Talent Acquisition, including instructions regarding application of veterans' preference and other search procedures, by sending an email to Talent Acquisition.

It is recommended that one member of the search committee, usually the search chair, maintain responsibility for applying veterans' preference throughout the search. Preference must be applied at each search stage.

1. HR administrators on the search or hiring managers will identify veterans or disabled veterans eligible for preference based on the indicator flags in the MyTrack listing of applicants. To navigate to the listing that shows flags, select "Manage Requisitions" under the expandable ("hamburger") menu in the upper left-hand corner of MyTrack; please note that this is the only area where indicator flags will show. The area where selection outcomes for applicants are designated does not display the indicator flags. Indicator flags will show veterans who have submitted necessary documentation of eligibility and whether the veteran is entitled to receive 5% preference or 10% preference (for disabled veterans) during selection process. Status indicators will show if the candidate has self-identified but is still awaiting documentation submission or HR review. (See Identification of Veterans section) HR administrators should review the candidate pool and ensure the search chair or search committee is prepared to provide veterans' preference prior to beginning candidate review.

2. Review all application materials to ascertain whether candidates, including veterans, meet stated minimum and special qualifications. Applicants whose applications do not show evidence of meeting stated requirements require no further review. (See Application Review: Minimum and special qualifications section)

3. Evaluate application materials from remaining candidates to determine the extent to which each applicant meets preferred qualifications and shows evidence of job-related knowledge, skills and experience. Continue to consider potential transferable education or experience that candidates, including veterans, would bring to the position. Apply the appropriate Veterans’ Preference as follows:

a. If using a scored evaluation tool, provide a 5% preference for veterans or 10% preference for disabled veterans. The 5% or 10% is based on the total possible points at that search stage.
b. If using a non-scored evaluation tool, provide special consideration for veterans and disabled veterans roughly equivalent to a 5% or 10% preference of the items being evaluated at that search stage.
(See Application Review: Continued assessment of qualifications section)

4. If there are veterans who meet minimum and special qualifications but are not among top candidates after evaluating all candidates and applying the Veterans’ Preference, decide whether to conduct a preliminary interview or whether to just advance them to the phone and/or campus interview. (See Interviews section)

5. If conducting a preliminary interview, use it to ascertain whether the veteran candidate has transferable knowledge or skills from his or her military experience that would change your overall assessment sufficiently to advance them into the top group of candidates. (See Interviews: Preliminary Interview for Veterans section)

6. Conduct interviews with top candidates, including any veterans whose scores or rankings, with preference, are among the top group, and any veterans for whom preliminary interviews about transferable skills resulted in placement among the top group of candidates.

7. Identify top candidates for ongoing consideration and conduct campus visits, reference checks and all remaining steps in the search process, ensuring that the preference for any covered veteran is ongoing throughout the process. (See Interviews and Selection Following Interviews)



In the context of these laws, the following definitions and terms apply (ORS 408.225 to 408.237):

As of January 1, 2022, servicemembers may claim their preference on job applications up to 120 days prior to discharge or release under honorable conditions.

A Veteran means a person who:

  1. Served on active duty with the Armed Forces of the United States:
    1. For a period of more than 90 consecutive days beginning on or before January 31, 1955, and was discharged or released under honorable conditions;
    2. For a period of more than 178 consecutive days beginning after January 31, 1955, and was discharged or released from active duty under honorable conditions;
    3. For 178 days or less and was discharged or released from active duty under honorable conditions because of a service-connected disability;
    4. For 178 days or less and was discharged or released from active duty under honorable conditions and has a disability rating from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs; or
    5. For at least one day in a combat zone and was discharged or released from active duty under honorable conditions;
  2. Received a combat or campaign ribbon of an expeditionary medal for service in the Armed Forces of the United States and was discharged or released from active duty under honorable conditions; or
  3. Is receiving a nonservice-connected pension from the United States Department of Veterans' Affairs.

A Disabled Veteran means a person:

  1. Who has a disability rating from the United States Department of Veterans' Affairs;
  2. Whose discharge or release from active duty was for a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty, or
  3. Who was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received in combat.

A Civil Service Position (ORS 408.225): any position for which a hiring or promotion decision is made based on the results of a merit based, competitive process that includes, but is not limited to, consideration of an applicant’s or employee’s relative ability, knowledge, experience and other skills (need not be labeled a “civil service position”).

Special Qualifications (not specifically defined as applied to this statute, but the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) uses the definition from OAR 105-040-0030): qualifications added to minimum qualifications and necessary (required) at the time of appointment based on the duties of the position to be filled. They may include, but are not limited to, bilingual skills, licenses, permits, and/or certifications required by law.

Transferable Skills (OAR 839-006-0440): skills that a veteran has obtained through military education or experience that relate, directly or indirectly, to the civil service position for which the veteran is applying.

Eligibility for Preference: a veteran is eligible to use the preference for a merit based, competitive open position for which application is made at any time after discharge or release from service in the Armed Forces of the United States.


Additional Resources

The American Council on Education website provides a tool employers can use for assessing how military training and experience translate to the civilian job market. The Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs www.oregon.gov/ODVA (503-373-2000) and the Oregon Military Department www.oregon.gov/OMD (503-584-3980) also provide services for determining whether military education or experience produces a transferable skill.