A federal contractor is suing the government over requirements to employ people with disabilities to perform government service-related contracts.
Government contractor Akima, which performed services for several National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency installations for the past 14 years, claims it’s losing its contracts because of the AbilityOne program that allocates work for severely disabled people, reported the Washington Times.
“With near certainty, there are no severely disabled, unemployed individuals in the St. Louis Missouri area carrying TS/SCI clearances,” said Craig Holman, a lawyer for Akima Intra Data LLC, in a U.S. Federal Claims Court complaint.
The Disibility Act and Disabled Worker Hiring
Akima had a contract to provide services to a classified facility in St. Louis, yet the building is so old it doesn’t meet the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the company said. The multimillion dollar contract was to provide services such as classified waste disposal, property inventory, security, mail and janitorial services.
Akima also says it was required to purchase products from vendors who employ disabled and/or blind contract workers. Yet it claimed that almost all contract jobs at the intelligence agency posts require top secret background clearances.
“Indeed, existing Department of Defense security guidelines render it improbable that individuals meeting the definition of severely disabled can obtain the necessary clearances,” the company wrote in its filing.
Can disabled workers obtain the necessary clearances? Yes.
Yet the National Disability Rights Network believes severely disabled people should be able to get necessary security clearances.
“It’s ludicrous that a person with a severe disability can’t get a security clearance,” said Curt Decker, executive director of the National Disability Rights Network. “We have tons of people in the federal government with different levels of clearances regardless of the disability.”