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Archive for April, 2016

U.S. Labor Department Expands Apprenticeship Programs: Teleconference on April 26, 2016

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

Colleagues,

We hope you saw last week’s announcement about the Administration’s latest plans to increase access to apprenticeship. Please see below for more information. We would like to invite you to a conference call on Tuesday at 12 pm EST to learn more.

Tuesday, April 26th
12 PM EST
Call-in Information: 888-677-5735
Passcode: 6009888

Please note this call is off the record and not for press purposes.
Thank you,
Office of Public Engagement

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DOL will be using the $90 million provided by bipartisan agreement for new investments through ApprenticeshipUSA to expand Registered Apprenticeship in the United States including the following:

• $60 million to support state strategies to expand Registered Apprenticeship, including funding for regional industry partnerships and innovative strategies that diversify apprenticeship locally;
• $30 million to catalyze industry partnerships in fast-growing and high-tech industries, to support organizations focused on increasing diversity, and to launch national efforts to make it easier for employers to start and for workers to find apprenticeship opportunities.

The Department of Labor is also announcing a first step in investing in state apprenticeship strategies. Recognizing Governors’ unique ability to create statewide strategies to expand Registered Apprenticeship, the Department is making up to $9.5 million available for ApprenticeshipUSA State Accelerator Grants, for states to develop strategic plans and build partnerships for apprenticeship expansion and diversification.

For more information, go to https://www.dol.gov/featured/apprenticeship.

Office of Disability Employment Policy Newsletter (Apr. 22, 2016)

Friday, April 22nd, 2016

For more information, go to www.dol.gov/odep.

Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities to Meet April 27-28, 2016

The next meeting of the Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities (the Committee) will take place on Wednesday, April 27, 2016, and Thursday, April 28, 2016. The meeting will be open to the public on Wednesday, April 27 from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM EDT. On Thursday, April 28, the meeting will be open to the public from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM EDT. The meeting will take place at the U.S. Access Board, 1331 F Street NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20004-1111. On April 27 and 28, the four subcommittees of the Committee will report out on their work since the last meeting of the Committee. In addition, the entire Committee will discuss recommendations regarding the AbilityOne® program. Also, the Committee will consider recommendations regarding the certificate program under section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The whole Committee will also discuss next steps and timelines for the final report.

PEAT Issues April Newsletter

The Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT) issued its April newsletter which features background on PEAT’s new TalentWorks tool, an opportunity to comment on proposed updates to Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act, and two guest blog posts on issues related to the accessibility of online recruiting tools. The issue also promotes two PEAT Talks webinars on topics including “Building Accessible Online Recruiting and Hiring Systems,” and “Sharing Success from the WWW+W4A Accessibility Hackathon.”

SHRM News Article Features PEAT’s TalentWorks

Accessibility issues in eRecruiting technology was the topic of an April 20 article titled “How Accessible Is Your Recruiting Technology?” on the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) website. The story highlighted TalentWorks, an online resource created by the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT). TalentWorks provides tips and tools for employers and human resources professionals to help them ensure their online job applications and other eRecruiting technologies are accessible to job seekers with disabilities. Featured topics include testing products for accessibility, using accessible social media techniques, and buying accessible eRecruiting products.

HSC Foundation and NCIL Now Accepting Applications for Youth Transitions Fellowship

The HSC Foundation, in partnership with the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), is now accepting applications for the Youth Transitions Fellowship, a 15-month paid position with the organizations’ disability youth transition and collaboration work. This fellowship is tailored for a person with a disability between the ages of 18 and 26 who has an interest in youth career transitions and employment solutions. Applications must be received by 5:00 PM ET on or before April 26, 2016.

National Work Incentives Seminar Event — April 27, 3:00-4:30 PM ET

The Social Security Administration’s National Work Incentives Seminar Event (WISE) webinar, “Ticket to Work: Choosing a Service Provider That’s Right for You,” will be presented on Wednesday, April 27, 3:00-4:30 PM ET. The webinar is aimed at those who receive Social Security disability benefits (SSI or SSDI) and want to make more money through work. Information will be provided on Social Security programs and rules such as Ticket to Work and Work Incentives, choosing the right service provider, and the importance of receiving long-term employment supports after starting work.

Office of Disability Employment Policy: Business $ense (Apr. 21, 2016)

Friday, April 22nd, 2016

A Tool for Raising Disability Awareness — Just in Time

Research consistently indicates that the greatest barriers people with disabilities face when it comes to employment aren’t architectural, but rather attitudinal. Although most employers report wanting to be welcoming of the skills and talents of qualified people with disabilities, many simply don’t have the exposure or awareness to foster a disability-inclusive environment.

Now, a new resource from the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) can help employers, especially small business employers, and their employees gain or brush up on disability etiquette and awareness. Disability Awareness to Increase Your Comfort, Confidence and Competence is a half-hour multimedia training module that starts with the basics, reminding participants that it’s not uncommon to be intimidated by things that are unfamiliar, but that in reality, disability is a common experience most people are touched by in one way or another.

Also addressed are five indicators that a company’s doors are open to people with disabilities, not just physically, but also virtually; tips for communicating with and about people with disabilities; and good practices for managing individuals with disabilities, which for the most part mirror good practices for managing all employees.

Disability Awareness to Increase Your Comfort, Confidence and Competence is the latest module in JAN’s “Just-in-Time” training series. Fully accessible, these “turn-key” curricula offer an easy way for organizations to demonstrate a commitment to a disability-friendly workplace — and diligence in ensuring all employees understand their responsibilities in fulfilling it. Each module has accompanying materials and can be viewed by employees individually at their computers or incorporated into larger training programs on a range of hiring and management issues. And best of all, they’re free of charge!

Funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), JAN is the leading source of free, expert and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues and offers a variety of resources for small businesses. JAN provides assistance via phone at (800) 526-7234 or (877) 781-9403 (TTY) or online at AskJAN.org.

For more information, go to www.dol.gov/odep.

Fact Sheets from Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs

Monday, April 18th, 2016

At http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/factsheets/, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) offers useful information on the following subjects in English, Spanish, Korean, and Simplified Chinese:

Workplace Rights Fact Sheet

Disability Rights Fact Sheet

Pay Transparency Fact Sheet (this sheet is coming soon)

Pregnancy and Childbearing Discrimination Fact Sheet

Protected Veterans’ Rights Fact Sheet

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Fact Sheet

Office of Disability Employment Policy Newsletter (Apr. 15, 2016)

Sunday, April 17th, 2016

For more information, go to www.dol.gov/odep.

Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities to Meet April 27-28, 2016

The next meeting of the Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities (the Committee) will take place on Wednesday, April 27, 2016, and Thursday, April 28, 2016. The meeting will be open to the public on Wednesday, April 27 from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM EDT. On Thursday, April 28, the meeting will be open to the public from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM EDT. The meeting will take place at the U.S. Access Board, 1331 F Street NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20004-1111. On April 27 and 28, the four subcommittees of the Committee will report out on their work since the last meeting of the Committee. In addition, the entire Committee will discuss recommendations regarding the AbilityOne® program. Also, the Committee will consider recommendations regarding the certificate program under section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The whole Committee will also discuss next steps and timelines for the final report. The public comment period of the meeting will take place on April 27 from 2:45 PM to 3:45 PM EDT. Instructions for submitting comments can be found in the Federal Register Notice. The deadline for submitting comments is April 15.

U.S. Department of Labor Issues RFI for Equity Partners to Increase Opportunities in Registered Apprenticeship

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Apprenticeship (OA) has announced the issuance of the Request for Information (RFI) DOL-ETA-16-N-00035 – Equity Partners to Increase Opportunities in Registered Apprenticeship. This RFI proposes to reserve approximately $15 million over 3 years (approximately $5 million annually) to award and support multiple contracts to national workforce intermediaries or a national consortia of workforce intermediaries (e.g., Community Based Organizations, Labor-Management Organizations, workforce, industry, and education organizations, among others) to serve as National Partners with DOL, and DOL-approved State Apprenticeship Agencies (SAAs), to support employers, states, DOL grantees, Registered Apprenticeship sponsors, and other stakeholders to promote diversity and inclusion of underrepresented populations that allow them to successfully prepare for, enter, and complete Registered Apprenticeship programs.

Job Accommodation Network Releases Two New Just-in-Time Training Modules

The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) has developed two new Just-in-Time training modules. These online classes, available on JAN’s website, may be used in group training or by individuals. They may easily be incorporated into larger training events. Each module includes a slideshow, transcript, and resource materials to use as handouts. The first new module is called “The Value Proposition for Engaging People with Disabilities.” This 11-minute training provides a brief overview of the value proposition for hiring, retaining, and marketing to people with disabilities. The second module is the 27-minute “Disability Awareness to Increase Your Comfort, Confidence, and Competence,” which offers technical assistance on the topic of disability awareness. Also available are a variety of other Just-in-Time modules, some for general audiences and some on quite specific topics.

LEAD Center Presents Webinar on Financial Literacy and the Workforce Development System: Resources and Implementation Strategies — April 28, 2016 3:00-4:30 PM EDT

April is Financial Capability month. To support workforce development agencies in their efforts to equip the individuals they serve with the financial knowledge needed to improve employment and economic advancement outcomes, the LEAD Center is bringing together representatives from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Employee Benefits Security Administration, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the City of Louisville’s Metro Community Services workgroup on Workforce and Financial Empowerment, and the DOL Employment and Training Administration. The webinar, to be held April 28, 3:00-4:30 PM EDT, will focus on financial literacy tools and resources, along with implementation strategies to integrate within workforce development services.

Latest EARN Newsletter Now Available

The Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) has issued its April 13 newsletter, featuring information on several recent blogs on disability-related topics, an EARN policy brief on the EEOC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act, upcoming web events, and more.

Justice Department’s Office of Special Counsel for Unfair Immigration-Related Labor Practices (Mar. 31, 2016)

Monday, April 11th, 2016

On March 31, 2016, the Justice Department issued a technical assistance letter addressing whether an employer may request documents for export control purposes. Also, the letter covers proposed questions for applicants and new hires to identify the need for a license under export control laws.

To view this letter, go to https://www.justice.gov/crt/osc-technical-assistance-letters.

The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) enforces the anti-discrimination provision (§ 274B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. § 1324b.

This federal law prohibits: 1) citizenship status discrimination in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee, 2) national origin discrimination in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee, 3) document abuse (unfair documentary practices during the employment eligibility verification, Form I-9, process), and 4) retaliation or intimidation.

If you feel you have suffered one of these forms of discrimination, call the Worker Hotline: 1-800-255-7688.

If you are an employer with questions about the anti-discrimination provision of the INA, call the Employer Hotline: 1-800-255-8155.

Office of Disability Employment Policy Newsletter (Apr. 8, 2016)

Saturday, April 9th, 2016

For more information, go to www.dol.gov/odep.

EARN Webinar — Reaffirming the Commitment: Understanding the Proposed Changes to Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act — April 14, 2:00-3:30 PM EDT

This webinar, hosted by the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN), will address key highlights of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking recently issued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in efforts to update, clarify, and centralize the standards that it uses to review and approve federal executive branch agencies’ plans for complying with Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act. The webinar will be presented April 14, 2:00-3:30 PM EDT. Participation is free, but registration is required.

Beyond “Checking the Box”: Expert Tips for Encouraging Self Identification

As part of the discussion on encouraging disability self-identification in the workplace related to the updates to Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act that went into effect in March 2014, the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) presented a webinar, “Do Ask, Do Tell: Tapping the Power of Disability Diversity & Encouraging Self-Identification” on February 18. Speakers included Shaun McGill, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of Disability Employment Policy, U.S. Department of Labor; Kathleen Lee, Business Outreach Consultant, Cornell University’s Industrial & Labor Relations School; and Lori Golden, Abilities Strategy Leader, Americas People Team, Ernst & Young, LLP. An archived version of the webinar is now available, along with the presentation materials.

LEAD Center Publishes Quarterly LEAD On! Newsletter

The LEAD Center’s quarterly e-newsletter LEAD On! is now available. LEAD On! highlights news and innovations in employment, policy, and economic advancement for people with disabilities. Highlights include information on a Notice of Proposed Rule Making regarding Section 188 of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), the LEAD Center’s new toolkit to promote collaboration between Centers for Independent Living and American Job Centers, the U.S. AbilityOne Commission’s statement on subminimum wage, and more.

WIOA Implementation Partnerships: The Important Role of Centers for Independent Living

The “Promoting Employment and Economic Advancement: A Toolkit for CILs and AJCs” is a collection of resources for Centers for Independent Living (CIL) and American Job Centers (AJC) to deepen their understanding of each other’s services and structure to improve the lives of job seekers with disabilities through employment. The checklists, guides, and fact sheets in the toolkit leverage CILs’ knowledge and skills on disability issues and community resources and AJCs’ training and employment services to maximize the talents and skills of both partners and create a win-win-win for CILs, AJCs, and job seekers with disabilities. A webinar introducing the Toolkit, “WIOA Implementation Partnerships: The Important Role of Centers for Independent Living,” was hosted on March 24 by the LEAD Center. This archived webinar discusses the toolkit and presents national and local leaders who share how CILs and AJCs are working together.

Best Practices for Complying with Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act

In this archived webcast, originally presented on March 16 by the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) as part of its Federal Winter Webcast Series, representatives from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and JAN provided participants with the latest developments in the application of the Rehabilitation Act in the workplace, some practical tips for compliance, and answers to tough employment questions. Speakers included Jeanne Goldberg, J.D., Senior Attorney Advisor in the Office of Legal Counsel, EEOC, and Linda Carter Batiste, J.D., JAN Principal Consultant.

Compensation Available for Uncapped Number of Individuals in Disability Settlement with Greyhound

Under the terms of a consent decree that resolves discrimination claims brought by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Greyhound Lines Inc. has hired a claims administrator to distribute compensation to people who experienced disability discrimination while traveling or attempting to travel on Greyhound. The consent decree resolves DOJ’s claims that Greyhound engaged in a nationwide pattern or practice of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to provide full and equal transportation services to passengers with disabilities. The alleged violations include (but are not limited to) failing to maintain accessibility features on its bus fleet such as lifts and securement devices, failing to provide passengers with disabilities assistance boarding and exiting buses at rest stops, and failing to allow customers traveling in wheelchairs to complete their reservations online.

C&A Tool Engineering Sued by EEOC for Disability Discrimination (Apr. 2016)

Monday, April 4th, 2016

Tool Company Violated Federal Law by Refusing to Hire Applicant With Vision Impairment, Federal Agency Charges

INDIANAPOLIS – C&A Tool Engineering Inc., a manufacturing-tooling company in Churubusco, Ind., violated federal law by failing to hire an applicant on the basis of a vision impairment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed on March 31, 2016.

According to EEOC’s suit, the applicant, an experienced and qualified machinist, applied and interviewed for a machinist position. Upon completion of the interview, the applicant was given a job offer conditioned on passing a physical examination. C&A Tool withdrew the job offer because the exam report referenced a vision impairment.

Failing to hire an individual due to a disability violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). EEOC filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division (EEOC v. C & A Tool Engineering, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:16-cv-00111), after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. EEOC’s lawsuit seeks back pay, compensatory damages, punitive damages and injunctive relief, including a court order prohibiting C&A Tool from failing to hire qualified individuals on the basis of disability in the future.

“The ADA protects both job applicants and employees from disability discrimination,” said Kenneth L. Bird, acting regional attorney of the Indianapolis District Office. “Employers cannot and should not consider impairments that do not affect job performance in their hiring decisions. EEOC will vigorously pursue cases where employers ignore this obligation.”

EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. The agency’s Indianapolis District Office oversees Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, and a portion of Ohio. Further information about EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.

The Road to Nondiscrimination: Focusing on the Fundamentals by Seena Foster

Friday, April 1st, 2016

Federal civil rights laws mandate nondiscrimination and equal opportunity in federally-assisted programs and activities and in the workplace. Often, however, achieving the goal of nondiscrimination is easier said than done.

The fact is, we tend to gravitate to people who look, think, and speak like we do. It’s difficult to step outside our zone of comfort to interact with folks who look or speak differently, or who hold “disagreeable” beliefs, views, or thoughts. And, even when we do venture outside our zone of comfort, it is a struggle to consider the other person and the person’s views without trying to mold him or her to conform to our way of thinking, speaking, or looking.

So, in this paper, we’re going to focus our attention on one way we can promote nondiscrimination and equal opportunity. We’ll assume that you are the Equal Opportunity (EO) professional for your organization, and one of your job duties is ensuring nondiscrimination and equal opportunity in your federally-assisted programs and activities, and in your employment practices.

Essential eligibility requirements

Let’s start with federally-assisted programs and activities. Every federally-assisted program and activity has a set of criteria, known as the “essential eligibility requirements,” which must be satisfied by any person seeking to take advantage of the service, aid, training, or benefit offered. This holds true for unemployment insurance, financial aid for college, rental housing assistance, Medicare, or any one of a myriad of other federally-assisted programs and activities.

Keeping a list of these “essential eligibility requirements” in front of you as you process an individual’s application or enrollment, as opposed to focusing on how the person looks, speaks, or thinks, will help ensure that decisions are based on nondiscriminatory criteria. To illustrate this point, let’s say that you are offering a federally-assisted financial aid program, and the essential eligibility requirements for this program are: (1) the applicant must have a household income of $24,500.00 per year or less in the 12 months preceding the date of the application; and (2) the applicant must establish that s/he has been a resident of your state or territory for at least 12 months prior to the date of the application.

For purposes of the exercises that follow, we are not concerned with the amount of the financial aid offered or its purpose—it could be emergency financial assistance for living expenses, or to pursue an education at a college or university, or as down payment assistance for a home or rental unit, or to offset the costs of health care expenses, or any number of other possibilities. Take a look at each of the following scenarios, and make a determination regarding whether the applicant would be entitled to the aid.

● Applicant Marsha Taylor is a middle-aged black woman with four children who has lived in your state for seven years and is trying to provide a better life for her children. She works two jobs and her household income is $25,200.00. She desperately needs the financial aid you offer. What do you do?

Answer: Ms. Taylor does not qualify for this aid. Although she has been a resident of your state for seven years, her household income exceeds the $24,500.00 limit. You may empathize with her difficult circumstances; you are not able to deviate from the “essential eligibility requirements” for this program.

● Applicant Steve Smith is a 28-year-old white male who has been a resident of your state for 13 months. He lives with his mother and their annual household income is $24,400.00. He states he does not believe in the “capitalist way of life.” He has a religious belief that you find objectionable, and you cannot stand his abrasive personality, especially because he talks constantly about how Americans are stupid. What do you do?

Answer: Mr. Smith qualifies for this aid. His household income is less than the $24,500.00 limit, and he has been a resident of your state for 13 months. Even though you find certain aspects of Mr. Smith’s beliefs or lifestyle offensive, he meets the “essential eligibility requirements” for this program.

● Applicant Jose Vargas is a 24-year-old person who is limited English proficient (LEP). Using a language line, you learn that he came to the United States 15 years ago with his parents, is a citizen of the United States, and has lived in your state for two years. He lost his job two months ago and his household income in the year preceding his application was $24,750.00. What do you do?

Answer: Mr. Vargas does not qualify for the aid. Here, Mr. Vargas meets the residency requirement for this program, but his household income exceeds the program’s income limits of $24,500.00. Even though he is unemployed, the “essential eligibility requirements” require that you look at the household income in the immediately preceding 12 month period of time. During that period of time, Mr. Vargas’ household income was $24,750.00.

● Marion Turnball comes to you to apply for financial aid. She has a visual disability, and requests that you assist her in completing her application. You do so and learn that she has lived in your state for three years and her household income is $24,600.00. What do you do?

Answer: In this example, Ms. Turnball meets the residency requirement since she has lived in your state for three years. On the other hand, her household income in the 12 months preceding the date of her application is $24,600.00, which exceeds the program’s limits of $24,500.00. Therefore, she does not meet the “essential eligibility requirements” for this program.

Bona fide occupational requirements

Federal civil rights laws also mandate nondiscrimination in your employment practices. As we’ve already learned, focusing on the “essential eligibility requirements” in federally-assisted programs and activities is one way of ensuring nondiscrimination. In your employment practices, there are similar concepts known as the “bona fide occupational requirements” and “essential job duties.” For the workplace, you’ll keep this list of actual, business-related requirements and job duties in front of you as you make decisions in your hiring, recruitment, termination, promotion, selection, and other practices.

It is illegal to pass over an individual who meets the “bona fide occupational requirements” for a job, promotion, or the like, because the person has a prosthetic limb, or because you don’t like the color of the person’s skin, how the person speaks or dresses, or the religious beliefs held by the person. To the contrary, employment decisions should be based on whether a person meets your list of bona fide occupational requirements and can perform the essential duties of the job. And, for each person who does meet these requirements, or who cannot perform the duties, your ultimate decision should be based on a legitimate comparison of his or her credentials with the credentials of other persons.

Let’s put these concepts into practice. Assume that there are certain positions in your company that require a high-level security clearance. You accept applications for the security clearance only when there is an opening in one of these positions. The person selected for the security clearance will get a significant bonus, and will be promoted in rank at the company. Let’s say, prior to applying to obtain the security clearance, the employee must demonstrate that s/he: (1) has a credit rating of 750 or higher with no history of bankruptcies, (2) has been employed with your company for at least 10 years at the time of application for the security clearance, and (3) has received outstanding job performance appraisals for each of the last ten years. Four employees express an interest in applying for the security clearance:

● Amanda Wilson has a reputation as one of the most devoted and hardest workers at your company. Her credit rating is 810 and, within the next two months, she will have 10 years of service with your company. She has never filed for bankruptcy. She has consistently received outstanding job performance appraisals for each of the past nine years, and is expected to receive an outstanding appraisal after completion of her 10th year in the next two months. In fact, her supervisors have praised her ability to go above and beyond that expected of her to offer innovative and effective solutions to problems. What do you do?

Answer: With a score of 810, Ms. Wilson clearly exceeds your requirement of a credit score of 750. Moreover, Ms. Wilson has never filed for bankruptcy. The problem is, however, Ms. Wilson does not have 10 years of employment with your company. You know that she has received outstanding performance appraisals for each of the past nine years with your company and her supervisor assures you that she will receive an outstanding performance appraisal in her 10th year with the company, which occurs at the end of only two more months. Nonetheless, at the time her application was filed, Ms. Wilson did not meet the 10 years of service requirement such that you cannot permit her to apply for the security clearance at this time.

● Khalid Al-Sharawah has worked for your company for 15 years. He came from Iraq, and he obtained his U.S. citizenship two years ago. He has received outstanding job performance appraisals for each of the last ten years. He practices a certain religious faith and, in the beginning of his employment with the company, you received complaints that he made derogatory comments about women and people of other religious faiths at work. You counseled him that this is unacceptable behavior and, in the past several years, you stopped receiving complaints. His credit score is 752, and he has not filed for bankruptcy in the past. What do you do?

Answer: Mr. Al-Sharawah meets the years of service requirement and has received outstanding performance appraisals for each of the past ten years. He has never filed for bankruptcy, and his credit score of 752 exceeds the required score of 750. Although you may disagree with Mr. Al-Sharawah’s beliefs and views, he is entitled to apply for the security clearance.

● Joe Thompson has been with your company for 13 years. His credit score is 812. He tells you that he did file for bankruptcy when he was younger (six years ago) because of unexpected medical expenses incurred by his daughter who suffered from cancer. He is known in your company as being very loyal and a hard worker. He has received outstanding performance appraisals for each of the past ten years. What do you do?

Answer: Mr. Thompson is one of the most pleasant people you have encountered. He meets the service requirements, and has received outstanding performance appraisals for each of the past ten years. His credit score is the highest of any of the applicants at 812. However, he has filed bankruptcy in the past. Under these circumstances, Mr. Thompson would not be permitted to apply for the security clearance.

● Tamara Wake has been with your company for 10 years. Her credit score is 801. She has never declared bankruptcy. In the first year of her employment with your company, she received a rating of “incompetent” by her supervisor. She filed a discrimination complaint and, on investigation, it was determined that the supervisor gave Ms. Wake the adverse appraisal because she is black and he did not agree with hiring “coloreds.” The performance appraisal was revised to reflect “outstanding” job performance. And, in the nine years since that time, Ms. Wake received outstanding performance appraisals by a different supervisor. What do you do?

Answer: Here, Ms. Wake meets the 10 year service requirement and she has an excellent credit score of 801. Moreover, she has never filed for bankruptcy. Turning to the performance appraisals, you note that, because her first performance appraisal was amended to reflect an outstanding rating, she meets the requirement of receiving outstanding performance appraisals for each of the past ten years. As a result, Ms. Wake is permitted to apply for the security clearance.

In the end, we see how important the stated requirements for employment practices, such as applying for a security clearance, are in an organization’s decision-making process. Focusing on these requirements as opposed to personal, subjective criteria will enable you to avoid engaging in discriminatory conduct. Indeed, these requirements offer the objective measure of an applicant’s ability, or inability, to qualify for whatever you are offering. It is important to have established policies and procedures that you apply evenly to all individuals.

About the author

Seena Foster, award-winning civil rights author and Principal of the discrimination consulting firm, Title VI Consulting, LLP in Alexandria, Virginia, provides expertise and guidance in the areas of civil rights compliance and discrimination complaint investigations related to the delivery of federally-assisted workforce development programs and activities. Her customers include state and local governments, colleges and universities, private companies, private counsel, and non-profit organizations. You may contact her at seena@titleviconsulting.com, or visit her web site at www.titleviconsulting.com for additional information regarding the services and resources she offers.

By way of background, in 2003, Ms. Foster served as a Senior Policy Analyst to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Civil Rights Center (CRC). In that capacity, she led a team of equal opportunity specialists to conduct disability-based technical assistance reviews of One-Stop centers, and she assisted the CRC’s leadership in preparing for limited English proficiency-based compliance reviews. Ms. Foster also analyzed and weighed witness statements and documents to prepare numerous final determinations for signature by the CRC Director, which resolved discrimination complaints under a variety of federal civil rights laws such as Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination Act, the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Section 188 of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA)(amended by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act). In 2006, Ms. Foster received the Secretary of Labor’s Equal Employment Opportunity Award in recognition of “exceptional efforts to ensure that individuals with disabilities have full access to employment and related services and benefits at the Nation’s One-Stop Career Centers.” And, at the request of the CRC, Ms. Foster served as a popular workshop speaker at national equal opportunity forums co-sponsored by the CRC and the National Association of State Workforce Agencies. Her presentations covered topics such as the WIA Section 188 disability checklist, conducting discrimination complaint investigations and writing final determinations, and conducting investigations of allegations involving harassment and hostile environment.

With a passion for ensuring nondiscrimination and equal opportunity in the delivery of federally-assisted programs and activities, Ms. Foster remains highly active in the field through her series of on-demand webcasts for equal opportunity professionals as well as through her mediation services, training, and assistance developing policies and procedures designed to ensure compliance with applicable federal civil rights laws. Her training in the areas of compliance and complaint investigations has been described as “dynamic,” “hitting the nail on the head,” “well-organized,” and “informative.” And, her award-winning book on conducting discrimination complaint investigations is viewed as “eye-opening” and “the best on the market.” Ms. Foster has a “Federal Workplace Mediation” certification through the Northern Virginia Mediation Service.

She is a member of the Human Rights Institute and Discrimination Law and Human Rights Law Committees of the International Bar Association. Ms. Foster received her undergraduate degree from Michigan State University, and she has a Juris Doctorate from The George Washington University Law School.