IRS Rehires More than 200 Former Employees with Past Conduct and Performance Issues

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Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

On July 24, 2017, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) issued a final audit report entitled “The Internal Revenue Service Continues to Rehire Former Employees with Conduct and Performance Issues” that found over 200 of more than 2,000 former employees rehired by the IRS from January 2015 to March 2016 were previously terminated or separated from the IRS while under investigation for substantiated conduct or performance issues.

The TIGTA audit report found the IRS had not effectively updated or implemented hiring policies to fully consider past IRS conduct and performance issues before deciding to hire former employees, including those terminated or separated during an investigation of conduct and performance issues. Although the IRS follows specific criteria to disqualify applicants, past IRS employment history is not provided to selecting officials to consider when hiring.

In all, 213 former employers with conduct or performance issues were rehired by the IRS. The conduct or performance issues that led to these former employees – including some with access to sensitive taxpayer information – being terminated or resigning from the IRS included: failure to properly file Federal tax returns; falsification of employment forms; unauthorized accesses to taxpayer information; absences and workplace disruption; and failure to follow instructions.

The overall objective of the audit report was to follow-up on a recommendation in a prior report to determine whether IRS management updated hiring policies to fully consider past conduct and performance issues prior to hiring former employees. IRS management agreed in principle with the recommendations and plans to update current practices and policies to ensure that data reflecting prior performance and misconduct is utilized in the hiring process.

To report fraud, waste, or abuse, call the TIGTA toll-free hotline at 1-800-366-4484, visit www.treasury.gov/tigta/ or write: Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, P.O. Box 589, Ben Franklin Station, Washington, D.C. 20044-0589. Information provided is confidential and providers may remain anonymous. The complete TIGTA audit report is available at www.treasury.gov/tigta/auditreports/2017reports/201710035fr.pdf.

The idea of “continuous screening” of employees is gaining more acceptance as critical post-hire due diligence tool. As reported earlier by ESR News, while most companies currently perform background screening on employees once at the pre-hire stage, “the new normal may call for continuous, post-hire monitoring” in the near future to avoid insider threats, according to a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) article.

Continuous screening is a growing background trend. “Continuous screening involves periodic background checks on current employees to identify criminal cases that can occur after a worker is hired,” explains Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) founder and CEO Attorney Lester Rosen. “While continuous screening can be a risk-management tool, employers need to ensure that it is worthwhile, fair, and legally compliant.”

Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) like ESR who are accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) must use business practices that ensure proper character of owners and employees. The  NAPBS Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP) contains 58 clauses that CRAs must follow to be NAPBS Accredited. The NAPBS BSAAP Clause 6.10 on Employee Criminal History states:

CRA shall conduct a criminal records check on all employees with access to consumer information when such searches can be conducted without violating state or federal law. These searches shall be conducted at least once every two years for the duration of their employment. Criminal offenses shall be evaluated to determine initial or continued employment based upon their access to consumer information and state and federal laws.

More ESR News Blogs about the IRS

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