OFCCP’s first directive of fiscal year 2020 outlines protections for spouses of protected veterans. Effective November 8, 2019, Directive 2020-01 serves to:
“ensure that federal contractors are not discriminating against spouses of protected veterans and to provide compliance assistance during compliance evaluations on how contractors can support the families of protected veterans.”
Employment protection for veterans is not new to the contractor community; however, the focus on individuals associated with military service men and women has been repeatedly mentioned by OFCCP leadership and in OFCCP related Town Hall discussions. Currently, “OFCCP’s regulations implementing VEVRAA make it unlawful for a federal contractor to discriminate in employment against a qualified individual because that individual is known to have a family, business, social or other relationship or association with a protected veteran” (41 CFR § 60-300.21 (e)). Using Directive 2020 – 01, OFCCP is clarifying that these protections extend to spouses of protected veterans.
Of particular interest for contractors is the directive’s guidance for OFCCP onsite investigations. While the directive does not specify which type of audit will use this guidance, OFCCP does state that its compliance officers will be soliciting information from employees regarding veteran spouse status and their treatment, asking questions such as:
- Is the employee a spouse of a protected veteran?
- Does the employee have coworkers who are spouses of protected veterans?
- Does the employee have any observations concerning the treatment of spouses of protected veterans?
In addition to the above questions, OFCCP compliance officers will provide the following resources to the employees they interview:
- A link to the online portal for military spouses maintained by the Veterans’ Employment Training Service on interstate license recognition options.
- Direct the employee to OFCCP’s online resources for employees and job seekers.
OFCCP has also noted in Directive 2020-01 that they will be working with Human Resources staff and managers to ensure that contractors understand their VEVRAA employment protection obligations and its coverage of associated individuals. In addition, the directive has an attached sample non-discrimination policy, which contractors are encouraged to utilize.
DCI intends to follow the implementation of Directive 2020-01 closely, especially in light of the recent release of OFCCP’s VEVRAA Focused Reviews scheduling list.
By Tyler Wurtz, HR Analyst at DCI Consulting