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Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has published a proposed rule in the Federal Register that would “Ban the Box” and prohibit the government from asking about the criminal history of applicants for Federal employment until later in the hiring process after a conditional job offer. The public has until July 1, 2016, to submit comments here before a final rule is issued.

According to the proposed Ban the Box rule on “Recruitment, Selection, and Placement (General) and Suitability”  posted by the OPM on May 2, 2016: The intended effect of this proposal is to better ensure that applicants from all segments of society, including those with prior criminal histories, receive a fair opportunity to compete for Federal employment.

In addition: Under the proposed rule, agencies will not be permitted to make specific inquiries concerning an applicant’s background of the sort asked on the OF-306’s `Background Information’ section or other forms used to conduct suitability investigations for Federal employment unless the hiring agency has made a conditional offer of employment to an applicant.

An OPM Director’s blog states: The rule would effectively “ban the box” for a significant number of positions in the Federal Government by delaying the point in the hiring process when agencies can inquire about an applicant’s criminal history until a conditional offer is made. This change prevents candidates from being eliminated before they have a chance to demonstrate their qualifications.

On April 29, 2016, President Barack Obama showed his support of the Ban the Box movement by signing a Presidential Memorandum for Promoting Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Formerly Incarcerated Individuals to help the estimated 70 million or more Americans with a record of arrest, criminal adjudication, or conviction reenter society through employment.

As reported earlier by ESR News, several major American corporations including Coca-Cola, Facebook, and Starbucks joined President Obama as the founding members in signing the Fair Chance Business Pledge that asks all of the U.S. private sector to Ban the Box on employment applications in order to eliminate barriers to job seekers with a criminal record

The Ban the Box movement which seeks to remove the box on applications that job applicants must check if they have a criminal record is spreading rapidly across the country. Currently, more than 100 cities and counties as well as 19 states have some form of Ban the Box legislation. For more Ban the Box information, visit

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) supports fair and informed Ban the Box legislation and has released a complimentary whitepaper entitled “Ten Critical Steps for Ex-Offenders to Get Back into the Workforce” to help job applicants with criminal records reenter society. The whitepaper is at

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this web site is for educational purposes only.

© 2016 Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – Making copies or using of any part of the ESR News Blog or ESR website for any purpose other than your own personal use is prohibited unless written authorization is first obtained from ESR.


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