NAPBS Submits Comments to OPM on Proposed Revisions to Federal Agency Hiring Practices

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Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) – which currently represents more than 750 member companies engaged in employment and tenant background screening across the United States – has submitted comments in response to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) request for comment on its proposed rule concerning revisions to federal agency hiring practices.

According to a summary of the Proposed Rule, the OPM is revising regulations for when “a hiring agency can request information typically collected during a background investigation from an applicant for Federal employment” in order to ensure that “applicants from all segments of society, including those with prior criminal histories, receive a fair opportunity to compete for Federal employment.”

In its comments to the OPM, the NAPBS “supports the intent and goal of the proposed rule to provide persons with prior criminal convictions a fair opportunity to compete for Federal employment,” but also encourages the OPM “to reconsider certain proposed requirements regarding the timing of when a background check may take place during the employment process.”

The NAPBS comments: While we understand the intent of these proposed requirements is to provide those with criminal histories a fair chance at employment by removing questions about prior convictions from the initial employment application, we do not believe that an agency should be required to provide a conditional offer of employment before they may inquire about the applicant’s criminal history.

The OPM’s proposed conditional offer requirement would “slow the hiring process by forcing the agency to conduct background checks on applicants one-by-one” instead of simultaneously on multiple applicants. “This delay can prove costly should an agency make a conditional offer to an applicant who subsequently may be disqualified for employment due to his/her criminal history,” the NAPBS comments.

To preserve the intent of the proposed rule while maximizing efficiency during the hiring process, the NAPBS “suggests that OPM consider altering the timing of when background checks are permitted to be conducted so as to avoid these unintended consequences. Background checks should be permitted following an initial interview of the applicant.” A copy of the NAPBS comments to the OPM is available here.

Founded as a non-profit trade association in 2003, the NAPBS – “The Voice of Screening Professionals” – was established with a mission to advance excellence in the screening profession. NAPBS members that range from Fortune 100 companies to small local businesses conduct millions of background checks each year during the hiring and leasing process. To learn more, visit www.napbs.com.

ESR CEO Lester Rosen to Co-Present Session at 2016 NAPBS Annual Conference

Attorney Lester Rosen, founder and CEO of Employment Screening Resources® (ESR), will co-present a session entitled “Compliance and Litigation: Working Effectively with Outside Counsel and Expert Witnesses” at the 2016 NAPBS® Annual Conference on September 20, 2016, in Palm Desert, California. NAPBS members may register for the event at www.napbs.com/events/2016-annual-conference/.

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