The Labor Department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program (OFCCP) released a new directive related to the employment of military spouses, to ensure that federal contractors are not discriminating against spouses of protected veterans.
Protected veteran are those who are disabled, recently separated, active duty wartime or campaign badge, or an Armed Forces service medal veteran.
Military service usually requires multiple and frequent relocation, often creating an employment history that can add challenges to a spouse's ability to obtain and maintain employment and to achieve career goals. While discrimination safeguards for spouses of protected veterans are not new, they can be overlooked. That is why the OFCCP will require its compliance officers to inquire with federal contractors during onsite investigations about their treatment of veteran spouses.
Here are the questions that employees of federal contractors can expect during a compliance examination.
- Are you a spouse of a protected veteran?
- Do you have any coworkers who are spouses of protected veterans?
- Do you have any observations concerning the treatment of spouses of protected veterans?
In addition, the OFCCP's compliance officer (CO) will offer compliance assistance with drafting a written policy and ensure that the contractor understands its obligations with respect to spouses of protected veterans.
The sample compliance policy provided with the new directive reads as follows:
It is [Federal Contractor, Inc.’s] policy not to discriminate because of a person’s relationship or association with a protected veteran. This includes spouses and other family members. Also, [Federal Contractor, Inc.] will safeguard the fair and equitable treatment of protected veteran spouses and family members with regard to all employment actions and prohibit harassment of applicants and employees because of their relationship or association with a protected veteran.