A group of more than 30 House and Senate Democrats, including many of those most active in civil service issues, have told OPM that they are “concerned that the federal government is falling short in its efforts to hire more workers with targeted disabilities and, even more troubling, may be removing these workers during their probationary period at rates higher than those for nondisabled workers.”
A letter said the latest data from EEOC show that the government is “far below” its goal—set by the Employment of Americans with Disabilities Initiative—of having 2 percent of its employees with conditions that are in the “targeted” category such as autism spectrum disorder, deafness, blindness or significant mobility impairment. Agencies may use special non-competitive appointment authorities for them apart from regular hiring procedures.
The letter said that despite 2016 policy changes that broadened the definition, “data provided to our offices indicates that, in 2017, the overall participation rate for such workers increased only to 1.34%. Even more troubling, the same data appears to show that in 2017, workers with targeted disabilities may have been involuntarily removed from their positions at double the rate of those without disabilities.”
The letter asked OPM for the latest data on the percentage in the workforce as well as data on federal employees removed each year since 2015 broken down by disability status, agency, probationary status, and more.