Can a Security Clearance Investigator Work a 40-Hour Workweek?
A class action lawsuit has been filed in the state of California against a private company that contracts with the federal government to provide background investigations to OPM for secret and top secret security clearances, along with several of its supervisors. The plaintiff, a security clearance investigator, alleges violations of state labor laws were required in order to perform workplace duties.
The lawsuit alleges that California Labor code was violated by not keeping accurate time records or paying overtime hours for non-exempt employees. The lawsuit also alleges that workers were threatened with termination if they didn’t complete security clearance investigations within company-set timelines, which required working unpaid overtime hours in order to maintain employment.
The defendant in the suit argues that in order to complete the required paperwork and travel, investigators would need to work anywhere from 10-20 hours of overtime in order to finish the work to OPM standard. This included working at home and on weekends.
The lawsuit goes on to make a host of other complaints, from alleging that the plaintiff was fired for complaining about the unfair work standards to alleging that the company didn’t make proper accommodation for disabled/injured employees.
Regardless of what the merits or reality might be in the above-case, it brings to light a topic we see on this blog a lot – the demand for a quicker turn-around time in security clearance investigations, which likely doesn’t fit into the reality of a 40-hour work-week. Recent speculation on this board has been that OPM may bring more investigative and adjudicative roles in-house – the often unpopular ‘insourcing’ within the federal government. By moving more positions in-house OPM gains control, and workers fall under federal labor standards. Whether or not that leads to increased efficiency, I’ll leave to others to debate.
Any opinion on the California lawsuit? Is it common to see security clearance investigators working overtime without compensation, or being threatened with lay-offs if they complain?