The American Civil Liberties and the ACLU of the District of Columbia filed an administrative complaint with the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal volunteer service agency that operates the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps. The complaint was filed on behalf of 22-year-old Susie Balcom, a recent college graduate and two-term AmeriCorps state program alumna who received multiple offers to serve with the national program. After she completed the CNCS medical questionnaire, which included her mental health history, the offers were rescinded.
Balcom’s complaint is filed on behalf of all current and recent applicants for service positions with AmeriCorps who either have, or who were regarded as having, a mental health disability as part of the CNCS health screening process. The complaint alleges the process violates the Rehabilitation Act, the federal law that prohibits disability discrimination by federal agencies, as well as CNCS’s own civil rights policy.
In April 2017, Balcom accepted a one-year position to serve as a support team leader, which would require her to coordinate logistics and trainings for members in the AmeriCorps office in Mississippi. In May, she was contacted by an AmeriCorps counselor who had additional questions regarding the three sessions of counseling she sought for anxiety. She explained that she had been sexually groped by a co-worker and had sought counseling for self-care. A few weeks later, AmeriCorps notified Balcom that she was disqualified from service because of the anxiety she had disclosed on the medical form.
We want to hear from other AmeriCorps applicants who believe they were treated unfairly in the health screening process. Please share you story with us here: www.aclu.org/surveyamericorps