As a federal employee, your security clearance may determine what projects you can work on and what advancement opportunities you may eventually secure. Obtaining security clearance (or a higher level of clearance) may be a necessary step for workers with ambitions.
The government process of investigating an individual for security clearance purposes is largely a private one, but the consequences can be very public. Most of the time, the process of reviewing someone’s background for the purpose of security clearance is straightforward. Other times, people believe there may have been discrimination at play.
Do you have the right to take action if you think discrimination influenced decisions about your security clearance?
Protected characteristics shouldn’t influence the outcome
For decades, federal guidelines on security clearance processes have specifically stated that factors like sex and race should not influence the final decision regarding an individual’s clearance. Whether or not they qualify at all and what level they receive should have a basis on their real-world history and behavior, not on characteristics outside of their control.
Individuals born in foreign countries or with prior involvement with groups like Black Lives Matter that tie to their personal characteristics may strongly suspect that security clearance decisions may have included consideration of those protected characteristics.
While bringing a claim of discrimination as a federal employee can be a challenge, it is still theoretically possible to fight back against employment practices that disadvantage you and potentially many others from a similar situation.
Speaking up when you suspect discrimination has affected your federal employment arrangements can protect your professional future and pave the way for other people like you.