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Federal “Ban the Box” legislation moves forward

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued a final rule revising its regulations to now prohibit federal agencies from inquiring about federal job applicants’ criminal histories until a conditional offer of employment has been extended.

The final rule was published in Dec. 1 edition of the Federal Register. To read the final rule in its entirety, click here.

The rule aims to encourage more individuals with “the requisite knowledge, skills, and ability to apply for federal positions by making it more clear that the government provides a fair opportunity to compete for federal employment to applicants from all segments of society,” according to the OPM, “including those with prior criminal histories or who have experienced financial difficulty through no fault of their own.”

The OPM recognizes that there are legitimate, job/position-related reasons why a hiring agency may need to determine suitability at an earlier stage in the employment process. As such, the final rule allows agencies to request from the OPM an exception to accommodate such circumstances.  

Requests for an exception must be submitted to the OPM by the agency’s Chief Human Capital Officer (or equivalent) at the agency headquarters level.

The rule will go into effect on Jan. 3, 2017. To permit agencies time to request exceptions where appropriate, the rule will have a compliance date of March 31, 2017.

Source: United States Government Publishing Office, 12/1/2016

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