Disability Hiring Laws, Security Clearances and Hiring Requirements

Security Clearance

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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.”

Chandler Harris is a freelance business and technology writer located in Silicon Valley. He has written for numerous publications including Entrepreneur, InformationWeek, San Jose Magazine, Government Technology, Public CIO, AllBusiness.com, U.S. Banker, Digital Communities Magazine, Converge Magazine, Surfer's Journal, Adventure Sports Magazine, ClearanceJobs.com, and the San Jose Business Journal. Chandler is also engaged in helping companies further their content marketing needs through content strategy, optimization and creation, as well as blogging and social media platforms. When he's not writing, Chandler enjoys his beach haunt of Santa Cruz where he rides roller coasters with his son, surfs and bikes across mountain ranges.