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PSH-13-0025 - In the Matter of Personnel Security Hearing

On July 11, 2013, an OHA Hearing Officer issued a decision in which he concluded that an individual’s security clearance should not be restored.  Following the investigation by a DOE contractor that one of its managerial employees had engaged in sexual harassment and retaliation, the employee was disciplined and transferred to another position. The investigation concluded the individual had directed derogatory comments, epithets and slurs referencing sexual orientation towards subordinates (not thought to be gay); targeting such comments most heavily towards employees who were suspected of complaining to management about the work unit; directing subordinates not to speak to management with the individual’s approval (in violation of corporate policy); and having inappropriate physical contact with employees (including a locker room prank of inserting a name tag in the crevice of a subordinate’s buttocks). Following this action, Local Security Office investigated and, in addition to the above, noted prior workplace behavior for which the individual had been disciplined; a pattern of criminal behavior between 1978 to 2012; and incorrect reporting on the individual’s e-QIP during a recent periodic re-investigation. The criminal activity including battery of a child, custodial interference, interference with a 911 call and spousal abuse. The LSO suspended his access authorization citing Criterion L. After conducting a hearing and evaluating the documentary and testimonial evidence, the Hearing Officer found that the individual had not presented evidence to mitigate the security concerns. With respect to the most recent workplace disciplinary action, the employee justified his behavior as be guided by his supervisor’s instruction to become “more like the guys” and as being consistent with the behavior of others in the workplace. The Hearing Officer noted, inter alia, the responsibility of each person for ensuring that their behavior is compliant with rules and regulations and the responsibility of managers (such as the individual) to ensure compliance of those reporting to him or her and of setting an example for subordinates.

Wade Boswell - Hearing Officer