Disclose All Employment Counseling, Reprimands and Terminations
Getting fired from a job is not necessarily a bad thing when it comes to getting a security clearance. There are many reasons for getting fired from employment. It could be because of performance, not meeting quotas, personality conflicts, or even just downsizing. These are things that do not factor into an adjudicator’s review when considering eligibility for a security clearance. However, if you do not disclose the fact that you were terminated or got counseled, that is now the bigger issue. A recent Defense Office of Hearing and Appeals case shows exactly why it is important to be totally honest about previous employments. Here are the highlights.
The applicant filled out the SF-86 questionnaire, did not indicate they got fired, and answered no to the question that asks if you ever received counseling or a warning. She listed that the reason for leaving the employer was due to downsizing. Turns out, she was fired from two previous employers and had received multiple disciplinary warnings for things like violating policy, not showing up for a shift, and unsatisfactory performance. During her interview with the background investigator, she was confronted with the discrepant information returned by the employers, and eventually admitted to receiving reprimands and being fired. She claimed that she did not list them accurately on the form because she was embarrassed about the situations and wanted to explain them in person.
Had she been honest and up front on the SF-86, there would have been a good chance the terminations and reprimands could have been mitigated. But because she hid this information, there now exists an honesty issue. The judge in this case opined the issue under Guideline E (Personal Conduct) could not be mitigated as it was recent and deliberate – eligibility for access to classified information was denied.