Know When to Get a Federal Employment Attorney Involved
Security clearances are an important requirement for many federal employees and contractors. A security clearance is a determination made by the federal government that an individual is eligible for access to classified information or facilities. However, the security clearance process can be complex and challenging, with many legal issues involved.
In this blog post, we will discuss the importance of security clearances for federal employees, provide an overview of the security clearance appeals process, and explain why seeking legal representation for security clearance issues is valuable.
Appealing a Security Clearance Denial: The Process
If you receive a Statement of Reasons (SOR) explaining why you have been denied a security clearance, you have the right to appeal the decision. However, to do so, you must follow a precise legal process. To begin, you must submit a written rebuttal to the DOHA within 20 days of receiving your SOR.
After receiving your rebuttal, you should receive a File of Relevant Materials (FORM), to which you must respond with a detailed explanation of your rebuttal within 30 days. In cases where the DOHA agrees with your rebuttal, they will revoke the SOR, and you will be granted clearance. If they do not agree with your rebuttal, your case will proceed to the next step and go before an administrative judge.
In most cases that appear before an administrative judge, the matter is handled without a hearing. When this happens, the judge will decide your case based on the written record. If your rebuttal is unsuccessful, you can request a final appeal.
Reasons to Seek Legal Representation If You Have Been Denied Security Clearance
Security clearance cases involve complex legal issues that may be difficult for federal employees to understand and navigate on their own. An experienced federal employment law attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options, as well as the potential consequences of a security clearance denial.
An experienced attorney can help you navigate the security clearance appeals process by:
- Reviewing and analyzing your case: An attorney can review your SOR and other relevant documentation to identify legal issues, such as errors or omissions in the government's case against you.
- Assisting you with preparing a written rebuttal to a SOR: An attorney can assist you in drafting a strong, persuasive rebuttal to a SOR that addresses the concerns raised by the government and supports your case for obtaining or maintaining a security clearance.
- Representing you at a hearing before the DOHA: An attorney can represent you at a hearing before the DOHA, which is convened to review the evidence and arguments presented in your case. An attorney can present your case effectively, cross-examine government witnesses, and argue in your favor.
An attorney can help you prepare and submit a strong rebuttal to a SOR, as well as represent you at a hearing before the DOHA. The possible outcomes of the appeal include having the clearance granted or denied or being granted a lower level of clearance.
Choosing the Right Federal Employment Law Attorney
When choosing an attorney for your security clearance case, it is important to look for someone with experience in federal security clearance cases and a good track record of success. You may also want to check references and reviews to ensure the attorney has a good reputation.
Evaluating the costs and benefits of hiring an attorney for your security clearance case is also important. While hiring an attorney is an expense you perhaps hadn’t planned for, the potential benefits, such as obtaining or maintaining a security clearance, may outweigh the costs.
The Law Firm of John P. Mahoney, Esq., Attorneys at Law, PLLC, Can Help
Seeking legal representation for security clearance issues is important in protecting your rights as a federal employee or contractor. An experienced federal employment law attorney can help you navigate the security clearance appeals process and improve your chances of obtaining or maintaining a security clearance.
Our Washington, D.C.-based law firm is focused on helping federal employees deal with a wide range of employment issues, including handling security clearance denials and appeals. As such, we are well-versed in all aspects of the process, and we are prepared to guide you from start to finish.
If you are dealing with security clearance issues, we encourage you to consult with our law firm for guidance and support during the appeals process. Schedule a consultation today.