White House tosses proposed rule for increased criminal background checks of federal job seekers
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The White House has withdrawn a proposed rule change that would have expanded criminal background checks of federal job applicants, including whether the individual went through pretrial diversion.
The U.S. Office of Personnel Management proposed the rule change in February to increase the background check requirements and is currently receiving public comment. While the Trump administration thought at the time that the change would improve applicant accuracy, advocates worried that it would punish applicants who were never convicted of a crime.
The pushback against the rule was bipartisan.
“The prospect of stigmatizing people who have gone through a diversion program is horrible,” Jason Pye, vice president of legislative affairs for the conservative group FreedomWorks, which advocates for criminal justice reform, told the Washington Post. “If the administration wants to do something in the criminal justice field, they should talk to stakeholders first.”
Under the rule change, Question No. 9 on the Declaration for Federal Employment, Optional Form 306 would ask, among other criminal background questions, whether the applicant in the last seven years has “been subject to judge or court specified conditions requiring satisfactory completion before a criminal charge has been or will be dismissed.”
While the name of the form indicates otherwise, it is not optional to fill out when going through the federal employment process.
ABAJournal.com: “Federal job seekers shouldn’t have to disclose whether they were in diversion programs, ABA says”
ABAJournal.com: “Trump administration seeks to expand criminal background checks for federal job seekers”