Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

The Fair Chance to Compete for Jobs Act


The Fair Chance to Compete for Jobs Act of 2019 (“Fair Chance Act”) generally prohibits Federal agencies from requesting that an applicant for Federal employment disclose criminal history record information before the agency makes a conditional offer of employment to that applicant. The Act is intended to ensure that every applicant receives a fair chance at employment, allowing the merits of an individual to include their qualifications and skills to be the primary criteria for hiring. The Fair Chance Act was designed to help qualified workers with arrests or conviction records compete fairly for employment in Federal agencies.

The Fair Chance Act prohibition regarding criminal history inquiries does not apply to applicants being appointed to positions that: 1) require by statutory authority an inquiry before extending an employment offer; 2) require a determination of eligibility for access to classified information; 3) have been designated as sensitive regarding national security; 4) are dual status military technicians; and 5) are Federal law enforcement officers.

How to File a Complaint

The Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS OIG) seeks to ensure that every applicant is treated fairly during the hiring process. As required by the Fair Chance Act, HHS OIG has established procedures under which an applicant may submit a complaint, or any other information, if they believe they have been subjected to a violation of the Fair Chance Act. Applicants who wish to submit a written complaint to the HHS OIG must do so within calendar 30 days of the alleged violation by the method below.

Complaint submissions should include all relevant information the applicant has including: the applicant’s name and contact information; the name of the component within HHS OIG where the vacancy was; the name and contact information of the employee (or contractor) who allegedly made the unlawful inquiry (if known); the date the alleged unlawful inquiry was made; the details regarding the job opportunity announcement applied to (job title, vacancy announcement number, etc.); whether a conditional employment offer was received by the applicant and, if so, the date of the offer; and copies of any documents or other evidence related to the complaint.

An applicant generally can select a representative of their choice to assist during the complaint process.


What to Expect After Submitting Your Complaint

HHS OIG will investigate all Fair Chance Act complaints that it receives. HHS OIG has the discretion to determine the appropriate fact finding methods to efficiently and thoroughly address the complaint. If the investigator needs additional information from the applicant, the investigator will contact the applicant who will be provided 10 calendar days to respond to the investigator’s request.

HHS OIG will develop an impartial and appropriate factual record adequate for the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to make findings on the claim(s) raised by the complaint. HHS OIG will complete its investigation as expeditiously as possible and generally within 60 calendar days of when the complaint was received. Within 30 calendar days after HHS OIG completes the investigation, it will submit an administrative report to OPM.

OPM will notify HHS OIG and the employee who allegedly violated the Fair Chance Act of its assessment of the complaint. The applicant who made the complaint may submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to obtain any releasable information about the investigation and outcome.

Additional Resources

Last updated June 27, 2024