Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House amended (04/09/1997)

Veterans Employment Opportunities Act of 1997 - Provides that a veterans' preference eligible (PE) or an individual who has been separated from military service under honorable conditions after three or more years of active duty shall not be denied the opportunity to compete for a vacant position within a Federal agency, either in the competitive or excepted service, by reason of: (1) not having acquired competitive status; or (2) not being an employee of such agency. Requires each agency to notify the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and U.S. employment offices of each vacant position for which competition is restricted to employees or individuals having competitive service. Requires OPM, at least every two years, to submit to the Congress and the President a report detailing for the prior period the number of such vacant positions in the Federal Government and the number of PE or separated individuals referred or appointed to such positions.

Directs OPM to establish and keep current a comprehensive list of all announcements of vacant positions within each agency for which competition is so restricted.

Applies such PE requirements to the Postal Service, with exceptions for certain collective bargaining positions.

Prohibits, during a Federal reduction in force (RIF), a position occupied by a PE from being placed in a single-position competitive level if the PE is qualified to perform the essential functions of any other position at the same grade in the competitive area (defined as being able to perform such functions within 150 days). Entitles a PE whose current or latest performance rating is at least fully successful to be assigned during a RIF to any position for which he or she is qualified that is within: (1) the PE's commuting area and is currently occupied by an individual placed in such position within six months before the RIF; or (2) the PE's competitive area and is not more than three grades below the position from which the PE was released (with an exception). Authorizes a PE to challenge the classification of any position to which the PE asserts assignment rights in an action before the Merit Systems Protection Board.

Requires each agency to establish an agency-wide priority placement program to facilitate employment placement for PEs who are scheduled to be or who are separated from service due to a RIF and who have received a rating of at least fully successful at their last performance evaluation or who occupy positions excluded from a performance appraisal system. Allows an individual to designate a different local commuting area in order to exercise reemployment rights if there are no alternative positions within the most local area. Requires an agency to place qualified present and former employees in retention order by PE subgroup and tenure group. Makes an individual eligible for reemployment for two years after a RIF. Provides conditions under which an individual loses eligibility for such reemployment.

Provides administrative and judicial redress and remedies for any PE or other individual who alleges that an agency has violated such individual's veterans' preference or related rights.

Extends the veterans' preference to: (1) employment within the General Accounting Office; (2) appointments made to the Office of the President (with an exception when the President certifies that the position is a confidential, policy-making, or political position); and (3) appointments to the legislative branch (with specified exclusions).

Establishes administrative remedies and procedures for PE and separated individuals with respect to appointments within the legislative or judicial branches of the Federal Government. Requires the Judicial Conference of the United States to prescribe regulations to provide for: (1) veterans' preference in the consideration of applicants for employment and in the conduct of any RIF, within the judicial branch; and (2) redress procedures for alleged violations of any rights of such individuals. Requires the Conference to: (1) consult with specified congressionally chartered veterans' service organizations when considering such regulations; and (2) provide specified congressional committees with a copy of such regulations.

Extends the veterans' preference to RIFs in the Federal Aviation Administration.

Includes among PE veterans those who served during a military operation in a qualified hazardous duty area under requirements prescribed by the Secretary of Defense.

Prohibits any employee authorized to take personnel actions from knowingly taking, or failing to take, any personnel action if such taking or failure would violate a PE requirement.