Caroline Mayne, AFF’s Employment Specialist, considers how workplace discrimination can affect Army families…

WHEN they realised that I was an Army spouse the employer admitted that they don’t like to employ Army spouses because they tend to be unreliable.

Thanks to more awareness amongst employers of the Armed Forces Corporate Covenant and organisations such as Recruit for Spouses, who have been working with businesses to raise awareness of the issues Service spouses can face, discrimination such as this has decreased.

However, some of you are still telling us that you are facing disadvantage when trying to get a job and that you feel discriminated against because you are an Army spouse.

One Army wife told me: “I was asked in an interview if my husband was due to deploy or be posted away, what rank he was and what job he did. The job was between me and a civilian. I was turned down.”

Discrimination law

It is against the law to discriminate against anyone for reasons including age; being married or in a civil partnership; being pregnant or having a child; disability; race; religion; sex; and sexual orientation. These are called “protected characteristics”.

Although AFF has explored this, being linked to the Armed Forces is not a protected characteristic. However, it can certainly be perceived to come under being married or in a civil partnership to someone in the military.

Further advice

If you believe you have faced discrimination or disadvantage, let AFF know as your evidence can help us change this culture. Contact – we may be able to engage with the Covenant team for you.

The following organisations also have useful information:

Provides information, training, conciliation and other services for employers and employees to help prevent or resolve workplace problems.

A work-life balance organisation helping working parents and their employers find a balance between responsibilities at home and work. 

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