Tammy Duckworth Concerned Trump Admin is Failing Federal Employees with Disabilities
Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) has concerns that the Trump administration is failing employees with disabilities, especially those with targeted disabilities. Approximately 54 million -- or one in five -- Americans are living with a disability. Yet Americans with disabilities have a disproportionately low, and they are underrepresented in the federal workforce -- making up just over 5% of the nearly 2.5 million people in the federal workforce. President Barack Obama in 2010 issued an executive order calling on federal agencies to hire more individuals with disabilities, especially those with “targeted disabilities” -- disabilities that pose the greatest barriers to employment, including autism spectrum disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, deafness, blindness, and significant mobility impairment. Duckworth and Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) sent a letter to Acting Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Margaret Weichert outlining their concerns that the Trump administration is failing to hire and retain employees with targeted disabilities at rates outlined by the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission initiative created by the Obama executive order. “We 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,” the lawmakers wrote. And Duckworth wants receipts. She asked OPM to provide detailed data on the removal rates for both permanent and probationary employees, including their agency of employment, veteran status, disability status, and removal method. “Many of these workers are prone to unemployment and underemployment as a result of their disability,” the lawmakers continued. “A segment of them are Veterans. Reaffirming our Nation’s commitment to this population of workers advances our common cause of a fair and equitable society for all.” Read the full letter here.