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What are criminal history inquiries?

A criminal history inquiry is a written or oral request for your criminal history, such as if you have ever been convicted or imprisoned.

Some positions are excluded from criminal history inquiries before you are offered the job, which means an agency representative can’t ask you to share any criminal history before you have a tentative job offer. In the How you will be evaluated section, the job announcement will say if the agency can ask you about your criminal history.

How does the application process work?

What are the complaint procedures?

If you have applied for a job that prohibits a criminal history inquiry before you receive a tentative offer and you believe the agency requested criminal history information from you, either in writing or orally, before you were given a tentative offer of employment, you can file a complaint.

Each agency has its own complaint procedures. The agency must allow you 30 days to file a complaint, and you can have someone of your choice assist you during the complaint process. For more information on an agency’s complaint process, please refer to the job announcement or the agency’s website.

How to contact an agency.

What is the Fair Chance to Compete for Jobs Act of 2019?

On October 2, 2023, the Office of Personnel Management’s regulations to implement the Fair Chance to Compete for Jobs Act of 2019 (Fair Chance Act) went into effect. The regulations limit when an agency can request criminal history information from an applicant during the hiring process. The regulations also provide a complaint process for applicants who believe they have been subjected to a prohibited request for criminal history information.

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