Excerpted from a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission press release

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) last week released two companion reports examining the federal employment of workers with arrest or conviction records. The EEOC developed these reports in support of President Biden’s Executive Order 14035, which calls for the expansion of federal employment opportunities for individuals with arrest or conviction records and requires the evaluation of barriers to federal employment faced by these individuals. These reports show that federal agencies are hiring qualified individuals with prior arrests or convictions in their background checks.

“It is our hope that the information contained in these reports will assist federal agencies in understanding long-standing challenges that the persons with arrests and convictions face when trying to obtain life-changing employment,” said Dexter Brooks, associate director of the EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations. “The federal government is uniquely positioned to demonstrate how to improve opportunities for this underserved community.”

The first report, Second Chances Part I: Federal Employment for Workers With Past Arrests or Convictions, explores how likely workers with prior arrests or convictions were to work in the federal sector and whether “ban-the-box” laws that govern the timing of background checks during the recruiting process better protect applicants from discrimination. The main findings include:

The second report, Second Chances Part II: History of Criminal Conduct and Suitability for Federal Employment, examines how often background investigations for federal employment found criminal conduct issues and how often investigations with criminal conduct issues received an unfavorable suitability determination. The determinations are conducted to consider whether a person’s character or conduct may have an impact on the integrity of federal service, and they decide whether the person is suitable for federal employment. The main findings include:

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