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Which employers must give Idaho Veterans’ Preference?

The Idaho Legislature has granted preference to veterans and certain family members when applying for positions with the state, county, city and other local public employers such as taxing districts for sewers, roads, schools and cemeteries.

The United States Congress has also granted preference to veterans. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management produces a guide for federal Veterans’ Preference. The guide can be found at under “Veterans” in the subject tab. Application of federal Veterans’ Preference is outside the scope of this FAQ.

What do I receive as an applicant qualified for Idaho Veterans’ Preference?

Idaho Veterans’ Preference does not guarantee veterans a public job. Instead, Idaho Veterans’ Preference is designed to honor a veteran’s service by providing a more favorable competitive position to the veteran, and certain spouses, when applying for jobs with an Idaho public employer.

Idaho Veterans’ Preference varies with the type of position, and whether the veteran applicant has a service-connected disability:

  • For positions where applicants are subject to a rating system based on experience and qualifications (such as the state of Idaho’s “classified service” system), an applicant qualified for Idaho Veterans’ Preference receives a basic preference of a five percentage point increase to the rating otherwise earned from the applicant’s experience and qualifications. A veteran with a 10% service-connected disability receives an enhanced preference of a ten percentage point increase to their earned rating. A veteran with a 30% service-connected disability is entitled to an interview if they possess all the qualifications for the position. The public employer may limit the number of interviews to 10 if there are more than 10 qualified applicants with a 30% service-connected disability.
  • For positions where the applicants are not subject to a rating system, a veteran is entitled to preference with an Idaho public employer over other applicants for the same position who are not more qualified.

Can I lose my Idaho Veterans’ Preference?

A public employer can refuse to accept an application from an otherwise qualified preference eligible applicant who is deemed unqualified through his or her actions. Examples include dismissal for cause from a public entity, a felony conviction or conduct unbecoming a public employee.

Is Veterans’ Preference offered for every public employment position?

An applicant does not receive Idaho Veterans’ Preference for every public position. Idaho Veterans’ Preference does not apply to:

  • Internal employer actions such as promotions, transfers and reassignments.
  • A second position with the same public employer.
  • A break in service with the public employer does not reinstate Idaho Veterans’ Preference.
  • Application to another office, division or agency of the public employer also does not reinstate the Idaho Veterans’ Preference.
  • Certain key employee positions, elected offices, temporary or casual positions, jobs held by patients, inmates or students in/or enrolled at a state institution.

What do I provide to establish Veterans’ Preference in the hiring process?

Idaho law requires that applications for Idaho public employment ask if the applicant is claiming preference, whether the applicant has claimed preference for a previous position with the public employer and identify any supporting documentation that is required to support a claim of preference. If the application form or job posting does not allow for Veterans’ Preference, you should ask the public employer how to identify your eligibility and what supporting documentation must be submitted with the application.

You should document your questions concerning Idaho Veterans’ Preference because your ability to appeal whether Idaho Veterans’ Preference was properly applied requires that you notify the public employer that you are claiming preference.

Idaho law allows the public employer to request documentation from applicants claiming Veterans’ Preference. It is your responsibility to provide the requested documentation at the time of application.

Can I file a late application if I was unable to meet the deadline due to my military service?

In some cases, a veteran can file a late application. If a veteran misses the closing date due to military service or for-service-connected hospitalization, the veteran can file an application for up to one year after discharge from military service or hospitalization. A disabled veteran can also file a late application to be on an open hiring list if the veteran has not already been examined twice for the same position and grade, is not already on the hiring list, and is not currently serving in a position in the same grade covered by the hiring list.

Late application is not allowed if the hiring list has expired, the selection process is no longer active or the position has been filled.

What can I do if I believe I was not provided Idaho Veterans’ Preference?

Idaho law requires the employer give you notice of the appeal process at the conclusion of the selection for a position if you have claimed Idaho Veterans’ Preference in your application and were not selected. You have 35 days from the day the public employer issues you this notice to request an appeal with the employer. If the public employer does not issue a notice of the appeal process to you, you have 35 days from the day you learn you were not selected for the position to request an appeal with the employer. All appeal requests must be made in writing.

Public employers are allowed to create their own internal appeal process. The process should be described in the public employer’s notice to you. If the employer does not initiate an appeal within 35 days of your written request for an appeal, you have a period of 180 days after the public employer’s deadline to initiate an appeal to appeal directly to the Idaho district court.

Does an employer face penalties for failing to provide Idaho Veterans’ Preference?

Idaho law allows a court to direct the public employer to properly apply Idaho Veterans’ Preference, to award the costs of suit and the reasonable attorney fees of an applicant successfully claiming a violation of Idaho Veterans’ Preference, and to award damages. Damages cannot exceed $5,000 or 10% of the annual salary of the position, whichever is higher. The damages cap includes any amount awarded for the costs of suit.

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