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On Tuesday, SHRM- and CalSHRM-sponsored A.B. 353 reported out of the California Assembly Committee on Veterans Affairs by a unanimous, bipartisan vote of 10-0. A.B. 353 would allow private-sector California employers to establish a voluntary preference in the hiring of veterans. Julie Worley, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, PHR-CA, and immediate past president of the Sacramento Area Human Resource Association, testified in support of the measure before the committee. Advocacy is a major component of SHRM's strategic initiative in California, and SHRM Government Affairs staff member Jason Gabhart has been working closely with the CalSHRM State Council in advancing our public policy objectives in the state.
Employers in California may exercise a veterans' hiring preference, but this preference is presently limited to Vietnam-era veterans and only immunizes employers from gender discrimination claims. This bill, known as the Voluntary Veterans' Preference Employment Policy Act, would establish a voluntary hiring or employment retention preference for veterans regardless of when they served our country. Thirty-seven other states across the country have enacted similar laws. The unanimous support that the bill received by both Republicans and Democrats is a big victory for SHRM, considering that most pieces of legislation in California are decided on a party-line vote. The bill now moves to the Assembly Committee on Labor and Employment and will be heard next month, possibly in time for CalSHRM's California State Legislative & HR Conference, which is scheduled for April 19-21. To sign up for the conference, please click HERE.
During the conference, an estimated 200 HR professionals will head to the state Capitol in Sacramento and advocate with state legislators on workplace public-policy issues including A.B. 353. The presence of HR professionals in the state Capitol, along with SHRM's and CalSHRM's continued advocacy efforts in California, have gone a long way in enhancing SHRM's brand in California.
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