The first OFCCP directive of 2020 is giving federal contractors an extra layer to the treatment of protected veterans. Directive 2020-01: Spouses of Protected Veterans provides an emphasis on ensuring "federal contractors are not discriminating against spouses of protected veterans."
Additionally, the directive's purpose is also designed to offer "compliance assistance during compliance evaluations on how contractors can support the family of protected veterans."
This new focus appears to be an extension of the language in OFCCP's VEVRAA regulations which states it is unlawful for contractors to display discrimination toward a qualified individual if that person "is known to have a family, business, social or other relationship or association with a protected veteran."
While the scope and process of everything isn't entirely clear at this point, the directive does list what to expect during an onsite investigation, including the areas an OFCCP compliance officer (CO) will zero in on during a visit.
"For HR staff and managers, the CO will:
- Offer compliance assistance by providing the attached sample nondiscrimination policy statement the contractor may use; and
- Ensure that the contractor understand its obligation not to discriminate against qualified individuals whom the contractor knows to be spouses or other associates of a protected veteran."
If the CO interviews employees during an evaluation as well, they will ask about associations with protected veterans, coworkers who have connections with veterans, and any observations they have made regarding the treatment of veteran's spouses. Employees will also be provided with links to additional information pertaining to veteran spouses and OFCCP's online resources for employees and job seekers.
Between this directive and the recent VEVRAA Focused Review CSAL release, OFCCP has showed its desire to ramp up the protection of veterans (and their families) in the current landscape - particularly in the recruitment of veterans and the management of this group in the workforce.