New Jersey Civil Service law give a hiring preference to “veterans” which ranks them higher on eligible lists if they otherwise meet the eligibility requirements. This is known as the Civil Service veterans preference.
However, not everyone who is considered a “veteran” by the Federal Government, military, or Veterans Administration is eligible for the civil service veterans preference. Eligible veterans include only those who received a discharge not characterized as dishonorable and who served at least 90 days in World War I and World War II, or who served at least 14 days in the operations area in the following conflicts: the Korean War; the Vietnam War; the Lebanon Crisis of 1958; the Lebanon peacekeeping mission in the 1980s; the Grenada peacekeeping mission in 1983; the Panama peacekeeping mission; Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm; Operation Northern Watch and Operation Southern Watch; Operation Restore Hope in Somalia; Operations Joint Endeavor and Joint Guard in Bosnia; Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti (if the veteran received the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for their Haitian service); Operation Enduring Freedom; and Operation Iraqi Freedom. “Veterans” also include service members receiving injuries in those operations regardless of the length of their service in them.
Disabled veterans” are “veterans” of those conflicts who receive compensation of at least ten percent for a service-connected disability arising out of those defined operations. Certain spouses and parents are also eligible if the veteran or disabled veteran does not or cannot use the preference.
Determinations about whether a person is a “veteran” or “disabled veteran” are made by the Adjutant General of the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. An employee or applicant with a veterans preference is designated with a “V” on employment lists, and an employee or applicant with a disabled veterans preference is designated with a “DV.”
The way the preference works is that disabled veterans who meet all the requirements for a position and pass the test are automatically placed at the top of an employment list resulting from an open competitive examination ahead of both non-disabled veterans and nonveterans in order of their respective final scores, regardless of the Rule of Three. Veterans who pass open competitive examinations are placed an open competitive employment list in order of their respective final scores regardless of the Rule of Three, behind only disabled veterans, but ahead of all nonveterans.
Thus, eligibles who have passed an open competitive examination and meet all the requirements for the title are placed: First, disabled veterans (DV) in the order of their scores; followed by veterans (V) in the order of their scores; and finally non-veterans (NV) in the order of their scores. When more than one eligible has the same score and same veterans status, they will be given the same rank. When a disabled veteran or veteran is on an open competitive list for a regular appointment, the employer must make the first regular appointment from the disabled veterans and then veterans in the order of ranking.
Preference is also given to qualified disabled veterans and veterans in the non-competitive division, but the veterans preference is not applicable in unclassified and senior executive titles. The veterans’ preference also applies in layoffs, but only where seniority is equal.
No preference is given in promotions, but when a veteran ranks highest on a promotional list and the employer wishes to appoint a non-veteran, it most show cause why the veteran should not receive the promotion. However, when scores are tied, veterans are listed first within each rank, but no distinction is made between veterans and disabled veterans.
If the Adjutant mistakenly refuses to grant a veteran the civil service status of “veteran” or “disabled veteran,” the veteran may appeal to the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. If the Civil Service Commission or an employer violates the rules for applying the veterans preference, appeals may be made to the New Jersey Civil Service Commission.
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