(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Representative Jamie Raskin (D-MD) joined Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) in sending 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 an Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) initiative. The EEOC defines the term “targeted disabilities” as disabilities that the government has, for several decades, emphasized in hiring because they pose the greatest barriers to employment. Targeted disabilities include autism spectrum disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, deafness, blindness, and significant mobility impairment.
“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,” wrote Langevin and Duckworth. “To further our understanding of this issue, we ask that you provide directly to our offices 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,” Langevin and Duckworth 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.”
The letter is endorsed by the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) and the Co-Chairs of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Employment and Training Task Force.
The letter was signed by Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Dick Durbin (D-IL) Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bob Casey (D-PA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Mark Warner (D-VA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and U.S. Representatives Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Gerald E. Connolly (D-VA), Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), James McGovern (D-MA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA), and Dina Titus (D-NV).
A signed copy of the letter is available here.