Text: S.1021 — 105th Congress (1997-1998)All Information (Except Text)

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Public Law No: 105-339 (10/31/1998)

 
[105th Congress Public Law 339]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]


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[DOCID: f:publ339.105]


[[Page 3181]]

              VETERANS EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES ACT OF 1998

[[Page 112 STAT. 3182]]

Public Law 105-339
105th Congress

                                 An Act


 
To amend title 5, United States Code, to provide that consideration may 
not be denied to preference eligibles applying for certain positions in 
   the competitive service, and for other purposes. <<NOTE:  Oct. 31, 
                          1998 -  [S. 1021]>> 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United <<NOTE: Veterans Employment Opportunities Act of 1998.>>  States 
of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. <<NOTE: 5 USC 2101 note.>> 

    This Act may be cited as the ``Veterans Employment Opportunities Act 
of 1998''.

SEC. 2. ACCESS FOR VETERANS.

    Section 3304 of title 5, United States Code, is amended by adding at 
the end the following:
    ``(f)(1) Preference eligibles or veterans who have been separated 
from the armed forces under honorable conditions after 3 years or more 
of active service may not be denied the opportunity to compete for 
vacant positions for which the agency making the announcement will 
accept applications from individuals outside its own workforce under 
merit promotion procedures.
    ``(2) This subsection shall not be construed to confer an 
entitlement to veterans' preference that is not otherwise required by 
law.
    ``(3) The area of consideration for all merit promotion 
announcements which include consideration of individuals of the Federal 
workforce shall indicate that preference eligibles and veterans who have 
been separated from the armed forces under honorable conditions after 3 
years or more of active service are eligible to apply. The announcements 
shall be publicized in accordance with section 3327.
    ``(4) The Office of Personnel Management shall establish an 
appointing authority to appoint such preference eligibles and 
veterans.''.

SEC. 3. IMPROVED REDRESS FOR PREFERENCE ELIGIBLES.

    (a) In General.--Subchapter I of chapter 33 of title 5, United 
States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

``Sec. 3330a. Preference eligibles; administrative redress

    ``(a)(1) A preference eligible who alleges that an agency has 
violated such individual's rights under any statute or regulation 
relating to veterans' preference may file a complaint with the Secretary 
of Labor.
    ``(2)(A) <<NOTE: Deadline.>>  A complaint under this subsection must 
be filed within 60 days after the date of the alleged violation.

[[Page 112 STAT. 3183]]

    ``(B) Such complaint shall be in writing, be in such form as the 
Secretary may prescribe, specify the agency against which the complaint 
is filed, and contain a summary of the allegations that form the basis 
for the complaint.
    ``(3) The Secretary shall, upon request, provide technical 
assistance to a potential complainant with respect to a complaint under 
this subsection.
    ``(b)(1) The Secretary of Labor shall investigate each complaint 
under subsection (a).
    ``(2) In carrying out any investigation under this subsection, the 
Secretary's duly authorized representatives shall, at all reasonable 
times, have reasonable access to, for purposes of examination, and the 
right to copy and receive, any documents of any person or agency that 
the Secretary considers relevant to the investigation.
    ``(3) In carrying out any investigation under this subsection, the 
Secretary may require by subpoena the attendance and testimony of 
witnesses and the production of documents relating to any matter under 
investigation. In case of disobedience of the subpoena or contumacy and 
on request of the Secretary, the Attorney General may apply to any 
district court of the United States in whose jurisdiction such 
disobedience or contumacy occurs for an order enforcing the subpoena.
    ``(4) <<NOTE: Courts.>>  Upon application, the district courts of 
the United States shall have jurisdiction to issue writs commanding any 
person or agency to comply with the subpoena of the Secretary or to 
comply with any order of the Secretary made pursuant to a lawful 
investigation under this subsection and the district courts shall have 
jurisdiction to punish failure to obey a subpoena or other lawful order 
of the Secretary as a contempt of court.

    ``(c)(1)(A) If the Secretary of Labor determines as a result of an 
investigation under subsection (b) that the action alleged in a 
complaint under subsection (a) occurred, the Secretary shall attempt to 
resolve the complaint by making reasonable efforts to ensure that the 
agency specified in the complaint complies with applicable provisions of 
statute or regulation relating to veterans' preference.
    ``(B) The Secretary of Labor shall make determinations referred to 
in subparagraph (A) based on a preponderance of the evidence.
    ``(2) <<NOTE: Notification.>>  If the efforts of the Secretary under 
subsection (b) with respect to a complaint under subsection (a) do not 
result in the resolution of the complaint, the Secretary shall notify 
the person who submitted the complaint, in writing, of the results of 
the Secretary's investigation under subsection (b).

    ``(d)(1) If the Secretary of Labor is unable to resolve a complaint 
under subsection (a) within 60 days after the date on which it is filed, 
the complainant may elect to appeal the alleged violation to the Merit 
Systems Protection Board in accordance with such procedures as the Merit 
Systems Protection Board shall prescribe, except that in no event may 
any such appeal be brought--
            ``(A) before the 61st day after the date on which the 
        complaint is filed; or
            ``(B) later than 15 days after the date on which the 
        complainant receives written notification from the Secretary 
        under subsection (c)(2).

    ``(2) An appeal under this subsection may not be brought unless--

[[Page 112 STAT. 3184]]

            ``(A) the complainant first provides written notification to 
        the Secretary of such complainant's intention to bring such 
        appeal; and
            ``(B) appropriate evidence of compliance with subparagraph 
        (A) is included (in such form and manner as the Merit Systems 
        Protection Board may prescribe) with the notice of appeal under 
        this subsection.

    ``(3) Upon receiving notification under paragraph (2)(A), the 
Secretary shall not continue to investigate or further attempt to 
resolve the complaint to which the notification relates.
    ``(e)(1) This section shall not be construed to prohibit a 
preference eligible from appealing directly to the Merit Systems 
Protection Board from any action which is appealable to the Board under 
any other law, rule, or regulation, in lieu of administrative redress 
under this section.
    ``(2) A preference eligible may not pursue redress for an alleged 
violation described in subsection (a) under this section at the same 
time the preference eligible pursues redress for such violation under 
any other law, rule, or regulation.

``Sec. 3330b. Preference eligibles; judicial redress

    ``(a) <<NOTE: Deadline.>>  In lieu of continuing the administrative 
redress procedure provided under section 3330a(d), a preference eligible 
may elect, in accordance with this section, to terminate those 
administrative proceedings and file an action with the appropriate 
United States district court not later than 60 days after the date of 
the election.

    ``(b) An election under this section may not be made--
            ``(1) before the 121st day after the date on which the 
        appeal is filed with the Merit Systems Protection Board under 
        section 3330a(d); or
            ``(2) after the Merit Systems Protection Board has issued a 
        judicially reviewable decision on the merits of the appeal.

    ``(c) <<NOTE: Regulations.>>  An election under this section shall 
be made, in writing, in such form and manner as the Merit Systems 
Protection Board shall by regulation prescribe. <<NOTE: Effective 
date.>>  The election shall be effective as of the date on which it is 
received, and the administrative proceeding to which it relates shall 
terminate immediately upon the receipt of such election.

``Sec. 3330c. Preference eligibles; remedy

    ``(a) If the Merit Systems Protection Board (in a proceeding under 
section 3330a) or a court (in a proceeding under section 3330b) 
determines that an agency has violated a right described in section 
3330a, the Board or court (as the case may be) shall order the agency to 
comply with such provisions and award compensation for any loss of wages 
or benefits suffered by the individual by reason of the violation 
involved. If the Board or court determines that such violation was 
willful, it shall award an amount equal to backpay as liquidated 
damages.
    ``(b) A preference eligible who prevails in an action under section 
3330a or 3330b shall be awarded reasonable attorney fees, expert witness 
fees, and other litigation expenses.''.
    (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections at the beginning of 
chapter 33 of title 5, United States Code, is amended by adding after 
the item relating to section 3330 the following:

``3330a. Preference eligibles; administrative redress.
``3330b. Preference eligibles; judicial redress.
``3330c. Preference eligibles; remedy.''.

[[Page 112 STAT. 3185]]

SEC. 4. EXTENSION OF VETERANS' PREFERENCE.

    (a) Amendment to Title 5, United States Code.--Paragraph (3) of 
section 2108 of title 5, United States Code, is amended by striking 
``the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Drug Enforcement 
Administration Senior Executive Service, or the General Accounting 
Office;'' and inserting ``or the Federal Bureau of Investigation and 
Drug Enforcement Administration Senior Executive Service;''.
    (b) Amendments to Title 3, United States Code.--
            (1) In general.--Chapter 2 of title 3, United States Code, 
        is amended by adding at the end the following:

``Sec. 115. Veterans' preference

    ``(a) Subject to subsection (b), appointments under sections 105, 
106, and 107 shall be made in accordance with section 2108, and sections 
3309 through 3312, of title 5.
    ``(b) Subsection (a) shall not apply to any appointment to a 
position the rate of basic pay for which is at least equal to the 
minimum rate established for positions in the Senior Executive Service 
under section 5382 of title 5 and the duties of which are comparable to 
those described in section 3132(a)(2) of such title or to any other 
position if, with respect to such position, the President makes 
certification--
            ``(1) that such position is--
                    ``(A) a confidential or policy-making position; or
                    ``(B) a position for which political affiliation or 
                political philosophy is otherwise an important 
                qualification; and
            ``(2) that any individual selected for such position is 
        expected to vacate the position at or before the end of the 
        President's term (or terms) of office.

Each <<NOTE: Notification.>>  individual appointed to a position 
described in the preceding sentence as to which the expectation 
described in paragraph (2) applies shall be notified as to such 
expectation, in writing, at the time of appointment to such position.''.
            (2) Clerical amendment.--The table of sections at the 
        beginning of chapter 2 of title 3, United States Code, is 
        amended by adding at the end the following:

``115. Veterans' preference.''.

    (c) Legislative Branch Appointments.-- <<NOTE: 2 USC 1316a.>> 
            (1) Definitions.--For the purposes of this subsection, the 
        terms ``covered employee'' and ``Board'' shall each have the 
        meaning given such term by section 101 of the Congressional 
        Accountability Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1301).
            (2) Rights and protections.--The rights and protections 
        established under section 2108, sections 3309 through 3312, and 
        subchapter I of chapter 35, of title 5, United States Code, 
        shall apply to covered employees.
            (3) Remedies.--
                    (A) In general.--The remedy for a violation of 
                paragraph (2) shall be such remedy as would be 
                appropriate if awarded under applicable provisions of 
                title 5, United States Code, in the case of a violation 
                of the relevant corresponding provision (referred to in 
                paragraph (2)) of such title.
                    (B) Procedure.--The procedure for consideration of 
                alleged violations of paragraph (2) shall be the same as

[[Page 112 STAT. 3186]]

                apply under section 401 of the Congressional 
                Accountability Act of 1995 (and the provisions of law 
                referred to therein) in the case of an alleged violation 
                of part A of title II of such Act.
            (4) Regulations to implement subsection.--
                    (A) In general.--The Board shall, pursuant to 
                section 304 of the Congressional Accountability Act of 
                1995 (2 U.S.C. 1384), issue regulations to implement 
                this subsection.
                    (B) Agency regulations.--The regulations issued 
                under subparagraph (A) shall be the same as the most 
                relevant substantive regulations (applicable with 
                respect to the executive branch) promulgated to 
                implement the statutory provisions referred to in 
                paragraph (2) except insofar as the Board may determine, 
                for good cause shown and stated together with the 
                regulation, that a modification of such regulations 
                would be more effective for the implementation of the 
                rights and protections under this subsection.
                    (C) Coordination.--The regulations issued under 
                subparagraph (A) shall be consistent with section 225 of 
                the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 
                1361).
            (5) Applicability.--Notwithstanding any other provision of 
        this subsection, the term ``covered employee'' shall not, for 
        purposes of this subsection, include an employee--
                    (A) whose appointment is made by the President with 
                the advice and consent of the Senate;
                    (B) whose appointment is made by a Member of 
                Congress or by a committee or subcommittee of either 
                House of Congress; or
                    (C) who is appointed to a position, the duties of 
                which are equivalent to those of a Senior Executive 
                Service position (within the meaning of section 
                3132(a)(2) of title 5, United States Code).
            (6) Effective date.--Paragraphs (2) and (3) shall be 
        effective as of the effective date of the regulations under 
        paragraph (4).

    (d) Judicial Branch Appointments.-- <<NOTE: 28 USC 601 note.>> 
            (1) <<NOTE: Procedures.>>  In general.--Subject to 
        paragraphs (2) and (3), the Judicial Conference of the United 
        States shall prescribe procedures to provide for--
                    (A) veterans' preference in the consideration of 
                applicants for employment, and in the conduct of any 
                reductions in force, within the judicial branch; and
                    (B) redress for alleged violations of any rights 
                provided for under subparagraph (A).
            (2) Procedures.--Under the procedures, a preference eligible 
        (as defined by section 2108 of title 5, United States Code) 
        shall be afforded preferences in a manner and to the extent 
        consistent with preferences afforded to preference eligibles in 
        the executive branch.
            (3) Exclusions.--Nothing in the procedures shall apply with 
        respect to an applicant or employee--
                    (A) whose appointment is made by the President with 
                the advice and consent of the Senate;
                    (B) whose appointment is as a judicial officer;

[[Page 112 STAT. 3187]]

                    (C) whose appointment is required by statute to be 
                made by or with the approval of a court or judicial 
                officer; or
                    (D) whose appointment is to a position, the duties 
                of which are equivalent to those of a Senior Executive 
                Service position (within the meaning of section 
                3132(a)(2) of title 5, United States Code).
            (4) Definitions.--For purposes of this subsection, the term 
        ``judicial officer'' means a justice, judge, or magistrate judge 
        listed in subparagraph (A), (B), (F), or (G) of section 
        376(a)(1) of title 28, United States Code.
            (5) Submission to congress; effective date.--
                    (A) Submission to congress.--Not later than 12 
                months after the date of enactment of this Act, the 
                Judicial Conference of the United States shall submit a 
                copy of the procedures prescribed under this subsection 
                to the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight and 
                the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of 
                Representatives and the Committee on Governmental 
                Affairs and the Committee on the Judiciary of the 
                Senate.
                    (B) Effective date.--The procedures prescribed under 
                this subsection shall take effect 13 months after the 
                date of enactment of this Act.
SEC. 5. <<NOTE: 49 USC 106 note.>>  VETERANS' PREFERENCE REQUIRED 
                    FOR REDUCTIONS IN FORCE IN THE FEDERAL 
                    AVIATION ADMINISTRATION.

    Section 347(b) of the Department of Transportation and Related 
Agencies Appropriations Act, 1996 (109 Stat. 460) is amended--
            (1) by striking ``and'' at the end of paragraph (6);
            (2) by striking the period at the end of paragraph (7) and 
        inserting ``; and''; and
            (3) by adding at the end the following:
            ``(8) sections 3501-3504, as such sections relate to 
        veterans' preference.''.
SEC. 6. FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH VETERANS' PREFERENCE REQUIREMENTS 
                    TO BE TREATED AS A PROHIBITED PERSONNEL 
                    PRACTICE FOR CERTAIN PURPOSES.

    (a) In General.--Subsection (b) of section 2302 of title 5, United 
States Code, is amended--
            (1) by striking ``or'' at the end of paragraph (10);
            (2) by redesignating paragraph (11) as paragraph (12); and
            (3) by inserting after paragraph (10) the following:
            ``(11)(A) knowingly take, recommend, or approve any 
        personnel action if the taking of such action would violate a 
        veterans' preference requirement; or
            ``(B) knowingly fail to take, recommend, or approve any 
        personnel action if the failure to take such action would 
        violate a veterans' preference requirement; or''.

    (b) Definition; Limitation.--Section 2302 of title 5, United States 
Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
    ``(e)(1) For the purpose of this section, the term `veterans' 
preference requirement' means any of the following provisions of law:
            ``(A) Sections 2108, 3305(b), 3309, 3310, 3311, 3312, 3313, 
        3314, 3315, 3316, 3317(b), 3318, 3320, 3351, 3352, 3363, 3501, 
        3502(b), 3504, and 4303(e) and (with respect to a preference

[[Page 112 STAT. 3188]]

        eligible referred to in section 7511(a)(1)(B)) subchapter II of 
        chapter 75 and section 7701.
            ``(B) Sections 943(c)(2) and 1784(c) of title 10.
            ``(C) Section 1308(b) of the Alaska National Interest Lands 
        Conservation Act.
            ``(D) Section 301(c) of the Foreign Service Act of 1980.
            ``(E) Sections 106(f), 7281(e), and 7802(5) of title 38.
            ``(F) Section 1005(a) of title 39.
            ``(G) Any other provision of law that the Director of the 
        Office of Personnel Management designates in regulations as 
        being a veterans' preference requirement for the purposes of 
        this subsection.
            ``(H) Any regulation prescribed under subsection (b) or (c) 
        of section 1302 and any other regulation that implements a 
        provision of law referred to in any of the preceding 
        subparagraphs.

    ``(2) Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, no 
authority to order corrective action shall be available in connection 
with a prohibited personnel practice described in subsection (b)(11). 
Nothing in this paragraph shall be considered to affect any authority 
under section 1215 (relating to disciplinary action).''.
    (c) Repeals.--
            (1) Section 1599c of title 10, united states code.--
                    (A) Repeal.--Section 1599c of title 10, United 
                States Code, is repealed.
                    (B) Clerical amendment.--The table of sections at 
                the beginning of chapter 81 of such title is amended by 
                striking out the item relating to section 1599c.
            (2) Section 2302(a)(1) of title 5, united states code.--
        Subsection (a)(1) of section 2302 of title 5, United States 
        Code, is amended to read as follows:

    ``(a)(1) For the purpose of this title, `prohibited personnel 
practice' means any action described in subsection (b).''.
    (d) <<NOTE: 5 USC 2302 note.>>  Savings Provision.--This section 
shall be treated as if it had never been enacted for purposes of any 
personnel action (within the meaning of section 2302 of title 5, United 
States Code) preceding the date of enactment of this Act.
SEC. 7. EXPANSION AND IMPROVEMENT OF VETERANS' EMPLOYMENT EMPHASIS 
                    UNDER FEDERAL CONTRACTS.

    (a) Covered Veterans.--Section 4212 of title 38, United States Code, 
is amended--
            (1) in subsection (a)--
                    (A) by striking out ``$10,000'' and inserting in 
                lieu thereof ``$25,000''; and
                    (B) by striking out ``special disabled veterans and 
                veterans of the Vietnam era'' and inserting in lieu 
                thereof ``special disabled veterans, veterans of the 
                Vietnam era, and any other veterans who served on active 
                duty during a war or in a campaign or expedition for 
                which a campaign badge has been authorized'';
            (2) in subsection (b), by striking out ``special disabled 
        veteran or veteran of the Vietnam era'' and inserting in lieu 
        thereof ``veteran covered by the first sentence of subsection 
        (a)''; and
            (3) in subsection (d)(1), by striking out ``veterans of the 
        Vietnam era or special disabled veterans'' both places it 
        appears

[[Page 112 STAT. 3189]]

        and inserting in lieu thereof ``special disabled veterans, 
        veterans of the Vietnam era, or other veterans who served on 
        active duty during a war or in a campaign or expedition for 
        which a campaign badge has been authorized''.

    (b) Prohibition on Contracting With Entities Not Meeting Reporting 
Requirements.--(1) Subchapter III of chapter 13 of title 31, United 
States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
``Sec. 1354. Limitation on use of appropriated funds for contracts 
                  with entities not meeting veterans' employment 
                  reporting requirements

    ``(a)(1) Subject to paragraph (2), no agency may obligate or expend 
funds appropriated for the agency for a fiscal year to enter into a 
contract described in section 4212(a) of title 38 with a contractor from 
which a report was required under section 4212(d) of that title with 
respect to the preceding fiscal year if such contractor did not submit 
such report.
    ``(2) Paragraph (1) shall cease to apply with respect to a 
contractor otherwise covered by that paragraph on the date on which the 
contractor submits the report required by such section 4212(d) for the 
fiscal year concerned.
    ``(b) <<NOTE: Records.>>  The Secretary of Labor shall make 
available in a database a list of the contractors that have complied 
with the provisions of such section 4212(d).''.

    (2) The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 13 of such 
title is amended by adding at the end the following:

``1354. Limitation on use of appropriated funds for contracts with 
           entities not meeting veterans' employment reporting 
           requirements.''.

SEC. 8. REQUIREMENT FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION IN ANNUAL REPORTS 
                    FROM FEDERAL CONTRACTORS ON VETERANS 
                    EMPLOYMENT.

    Section 4212(d)(1) of title 38, United States Code, as amended by 
section 7(a)(3) of this Act, is further amended--
            (1) by striking out ``and'' at the end of subparagraph (A);
            (2) by striking out the period at the end of subparagraph 
        (B) and inserting in lieu thereof ``; and''; and

[[Page 112 STAT. 3190]]

            (3) by adding at the end the following:
            ``(C) the maximum number and the minimum number of employees 
        of such contractor during the period covered by the report.''.

    Approved October 31, 1998.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--S. 1021 (H.R. 240):
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

HOUSE REPORTS: No. 105-40, Pt. 1 accompanying H.R. 240 (Comm. on 
Government Reform and Oversight).
SENATE REPORTS: No. 105-340 (Comm. on Veterans' Affairs).
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 144 (1998):
            Oct. 5, considered and passed Senate.
            Oct. 8, considered and passed House.

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