Fair Chance Act Limits Criminal History Checks by Federal Contractors

The Fair Chance Act, enacted as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020,...



Criminal HistoryThe Fair Chance Act, enacted as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, prohibits, with limited exceptions, federal contractors from inquiring about the criminal history of an applicant for a position related to work under a federal contract until after a conditional job offer is extended.

Contractors may seek such information pre-offer in the following situations:

  • Where consideration of criminal history information prior to a job offer is otherwise required by law
  • Where the contract “requires an individual hired under the contract to access classified information or to have sensitive law enforcement or national security duties;” and
  • For other positions to be identified in regulations to be issued no later than April 2021

The Fair Chance Act also provides that the General Services Administration will establish procedures under which an applicant for a position with a Federal contractor may submit a complaint regarding a contractor’s compliance with this requirement.

This new requirement does not go into effect until December 20, 2021 and will apply to federal contracts awarded pursuant to solicitations issued after that date.

Lynn A. Clements, Director, Audit and HR Services
Lynn A. Clements, Director, Audit and HR Services
As Berkshire’s Director of Audit & HR Services, Lynn manages Berkshire’s Pay Equity, HR Services and Audit Defense practices. With 25 years of experience in the EEO and affirmative action space -- including nearly eight years working as a former senior official at the EEOC and OFFCP -- Lynn brings a unique blend of regulatory knowledge and practical compliance expertise to every project she oversees.

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