On May 2, 2016, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) published in the Federal Register a proposed rule with request for comments. Comments must be received on or before July 1, 2016. Under the proposed rule, early inquiries (e.g., during the initial application stage) about criminal or credit history would not be allowed and can only be made after a conditional offer is extended. However, agencies seeking exceptions will be able to do so if there are legitimate, job-related reasons as to why an evaluation of this information is necessary earlier in the selection process. In addition, this rule would not prevent an agency from rescinding an offer if in fact there is an ‘adverse’ criminal history record.
Although this rule does not apply to the federal contractor community, there are employee rights organizations that are advocating for its extension to federal contractors. Therefore, if your organization still reviews criminal and/or credit history during the selection process, we strongly recommend you review the EEOC’s guidelines to ensure appropriate application of this screening tool.
By Yevonessa Hall, Consultant at DCI Consulting Group