Federal Employees News Digest

Lawmakers urge OPM to rescind new background investigation rule

A bipartisan pair of lawmakers has joined efforts to ask the Office of Personnel Management to revoke a current notice of a proposed rule change that would require federal job seekers to disclose some non-conviction records in order to be considered for employment.

In a recent Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), OPM proposed to require federal job applicants and contract workers to disclose whether they have participated in any pretrial diversion or intervention programs in the last seven years.

Currently, applicants are only asked about recent convictions and periods of incarceration.

Sens. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Mile Lee (R-Utah) in an April 23 letter to acting OPM Director Margaret Weichert, contend that including programs that are designed to expunge an individual’s criminal record while conducting the federal hiring process contradicts prison-reform efforts.

“This NPRM is inconsistent with and subverts efforts at the state and federal levels to promote reintegration and rehabilitation programs,” the pair wrote, adding that additional questions should not include conviction alternative programs. 

According to the lawmakers, the NPRM claims that asking about diversion programs would “close a [question] gap” and improve application accuracy. “But this is a solution in search of a problem,” the letter states.

“Applicants should not have to disclose behavior that may not have resulted in conviction on a job application,” it continued.

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Contributors

Edward A. Zurndorfer Certified Financial Planner
Mike Causey Columnist
Tom Fox VP for Leadership and Innovation, Partnership for Public Service
Mathew B. Tully Legal Analyst

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