Congress has passed the Fair Chance to Compete for Jobs Act of 2019 (“Fair Chance Act”) as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which was enacted on December 17, 2019.
This federal “ban-the-box” law prohibits federal agencies and federal contractors from asking about a job applicant’s criminal history until after a conditional offer of employment has been made.
The Fair Chance Act, which received bipartisan support, will go into effect two years from the date of enactment. The measure provides exceptions for three types of positions, including: (1) positions related to law enforcement and national security duties; (2) positions requiring access to classified information; and (3) positions for which it is required by law to access criminal history information before the conditional offer stage.
The Fair Chance Act directs the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and General Services Administration (GSA) to issue implementing regulations. Violations by contractors are subject to an array of penalties ranging from warning, to suspension of payment.
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