As Veteran’s Day nears, OFCCP is keeping federal contractors busy reviewing the latest efforts the Agency is undertaking to ensure employers are in compliance with non-discrimination and affirmative action obligations for protected veterans.

In addition to releasing a supplement CSAL list for establishments that have been selected for VEVRAA Focused Reviews, OFCCP also publised the first Directive of FY 2020.  Directive 2020-01: Spouses of Protected Veterans was drafted 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.

Pursuant to the VEVRAA regulations, it is “unlawful” for a contractor to “exclude or deny equal jobs or benefits to, or otherwise discriminate against,” a qualified individual because of the “known protected status of an individual with whom the qualified individual is known to have a family, business, social or other relationship or association.”

The new Directive states that during the onsite investigation OFCCP will “ask questions of Human Resource (HR) staff, managers, and employees.”

For HR and Managers OFCCP will:

  • Offer compliance assistance by providing a sample nondiscrimination policy statement that the contractor may use; and,
  • Ensure that the contractor understands its obligation not to discriminate against qualified individuals whom the contractor knows to be spouses or other associates of a protected veteran.

More specifically for employees, the Compliance Officer will ask the following questions:

  • if they are a spouse of a protected veteran;
  • if they have coworkers who are spouses of protected veterans;
  • any observations they have concerning the treatment of spouses of protected veterans

It is clear that contractors scheduled for the new VEVRAA Focused Reviews should ensure they are prepared for this line of inquiry.  To be clear, however, the Directive does not state its investigations of compliance with this obligation is limited only to VEVRAA focused reviews.  Thus, all contractors should review their practices to ensure they are in compliance.