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DoD Directive 1400.33 Protects Your Employment Rights


As a military spouse, did you know that you have legal protections regarding your right to work, seek education or volunteer?

DoD Directive 1400.33 protects your employment rights by making it illegal for any military official to directly or indirectly impede or interfere with the employment, educational and/or volunteer activities of a spouse married to a member of the military. DOD Directive 1400.33 also makes it illegal for a spouse’s work, education or volunteering to positively or negatively affect the military career of a soldier. In other words the military can’t hold a soldier responsible for your choice to work or not to work and your choices can’t cause your spouse to be discriminated against in assignments or performance ratings. The only time Command can even comment on spousal activities is if there is a conflict of interest between the military, your spouse’s position and your outside education, employment or volunteering activities. Nothing related to the spouse or their activities can be written on performance appraisals.

DoD Directive 1400.33 applies to all branches of the military including the National Guard, the Reserves, the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), the Joint Chiefs of Staff (OJCS), the Unified and Specified Commands, the Defense Agencies and DoD Field Activities.

DoD Directive 1400.33 only protects spouse’s that are not also part of the military.

There are some other interesting parts to DoD Directive 1400.33. Section 4.2.1.2 requires the military to try to assign dual-career spouses to the same geographic area. There is also a section 4.2.1.1 that states that the military should try to improve the personal hardship of either a soldier or a spouse if a family member needs specialized medical treatment or educational services.

As the spouse of a service member, knowing about DoD Directive 1400.33 provides you with a strong ally for pursuing your dreams. Talking about DoD Directive 1400.33 with your spouse may also quell any fears they have about your interests negatively impacting their own career. Now that more than half of all military spouses work or volunteer in some capacity, DoD Directive 1400.33 isn’t as important as it was when it was written. On the other hand, it is always nice to know that that there is at least one military regulation that rules in your favor!

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