The Dangers of Overriding Veterans’ Preference by HR Specialists
The Agency Is at Risk and the Applicant’s Standing is Adversely Affected
By Linda E. Brooks Rix, Avue Co-CEO
Herbert Russell, a U.S. Army veteran from Charlotte, N.C., served his country honorably and upon discharge received compensation for service-related disabilities at 30 percent, and with it a 10-point veterans’ preference when applying for most federal positions.
In October 2010, Russell noticed a job vacancy with the Department of Health and Human Services and applied through the agency’s QuickHire system, which required applicants to fax any supporting documents to the agency. QuickHire seemed reliable. It created a separate coversheet for each document faxed, and each coversheet held a barcode specific to the applicant, the job vacancy and document type. The faxes were received by QuickHire and filed electronically.
Russell knew as a 30-percent compensable disability veteran he was entitled to the 10-point veterans’ preference and dutifully faxed the required letter and documentation from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
What Russell was not told, either by the QuickHire system or HHS, was that sending an additional fax with the same barcode would erase his initial fax, the DD Form 214 from the VA — a “Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty”. His second fax, a copy of the federal Standard Form (SF) 50-B detailing his previous work for the federal government as a 30-percent disabled veteran, overwrote the DD Form 214.
Here begins the cautionary tale of the hazards of overriding veterans’ preference.