State Sen. Alan Hays and State Rep. Clay Ingram have filed legislation that allows private, non-public employers in Florida to give hiring preference to an honorably discharged veteran, or the spouse of a service-disabled veteran, without violating any state or local equal employment opportunity law.
“We appreciate all that our veterans and their families have sacrificed during their service, and we want to honor them by doing everything we can to help ease their transition into civilian life,” said Ingram. “In addition to encouraging private companies to help our veterans, this legislation also gives employers confidence and an added layer of protection when it comes to their employment decisions.”
“What better way to celebrate freedom and free enterprise than to honor our veterans with a job,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “Florida’s veterans are dedicated, skilled workers that our country has invested in, and this presents a tremendous opportunity for Florida’s private-sector businesses looking to fill jobs with trained professionals.”
While private employers could potentially offer a preference to veterans under current law, Senate Bill 970 and the companion House Bill 873 explicitly protect non-public businesses from Equal Employment disparate impact claims. Florida follows Washington, Minnesota, Arkansas and North Carolina in providing similar private sector exceptions.