Contractor Denied a Clearance for Timekeeping Anomalies
Accurate timekeeping relies heavily on the integrity of the person filing hours worked. If supervisors are not paying attention there is always a possibility of an employee taking advantage to claim hours worked when they actually did not. A recent Defense Office of Hearing and Appeals case highlighted the danger of getting fired for this practice. Here are the highlights of the case:
A 28-year-old defense contractor working as a cleared systems engineer was counseled numerous times in 2017 and 2018 by her supervisor for failure to maintain a consistent and predictable work schedule. In 2019 her performance appraisal included another caution stating continued issues with her work schedule could result in disciplinary action. Alas, the contractor did not heed the warnings and the supervisor noticed she was missing from their secure workspace on numerous occasions. The supervisor reported this to Human Resources, who requested an audit of the contractor’s badge swipes for the days in question. The audit revealed discrepancies in her claimed hours worked versus time badged in, and when questioned about it, she initially claimed she “piggy-backed” in with others. The problem with this excuse is it is a security violation to do that, so even if it were true, she would be admitting to numerous security violations. Eventually she admitted she was not present during over 100 hours claimed for pay.
The DoD revoked her eligibility for a clearance, and she appealed to DOHA in writing, expressing her remorse for serious ethical mistakes, claiming she was inexperienced and underchallenged at work. Of course, this tact did not go over will with the judge in this case, and no mitigation was applied to the personal conduct concerns – clearance reinstatement denied.