Can my employer legally require me to get a security clearance?

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Can my employer legally require me to get a security clearance?

I work in the IT department for a defense contractor. I have worked at this employer for approximately 6 years. I have recently been asked to fill out some paperwork for a security clearance, although I don’t ever handle, or have direct access to any classified information. I have been promoted twice in the last 6 years and have worked in my current position for a little over a year. Can I be legally required to fill out the clearance form even though I have been working for years without one. Would this be legal grounds to fire me?

Asked on August 1, 2011 Massachusetts

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

This is really not an easy question to answer without more information.  Why now is your employer requiring the security clearance?  Is it possible that they have acquired a contract that, as part of their obtaining the contract, they have everyone cleared?  Then yes they probably can require it.  I understand that you yourself may not have any contact with the project or information but it may not matter in the long run but it may be a good thing to present to them.  As for firing you, if you are an employee at will then you can be fired for any reason and for no reason.  Your collecting unemployment requires that you not be fired for cause.  Or put another way: through no fault of your own.  Think about it.  Good luck.

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

This is really not an easy question to answer without more information.  Why now is your employer requiring the security clearance?  Is it possible that they have acquired a contract that, as part of their obtaining the contract, they have everyone cleared?  Then yes they probably can require it.  I understand that you yourself may not have any contact with the project or information but it may not matter in the long run but it may be a good thing to present to them.  As for firing you, if you are an employee at will then you can be fired for any reason and for no reason.  Your collecting unemployment requires that you not be fired for cause.  Or put another way: through no fault of your own.  Think about it.  Good luck.


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