Criminal Screenings and the Hiring Process


Effective Date: Expiration Date: Chapters:
Jan. 2, 2015 When Superseded 4  


NOTE: This instruction supersedes E-DPM Instruction No. 4-18, Changes to the District of Columbia's Hiring Practices and Official Job Application Necessary to Implement the "Returning Citizen Public Employment Inclusion Amendment Act of 2010,"; dated June 3, 2011. This instruction provides information and guidance that District government agencies must follow when interacting with applicants with criminal backgrounds.

The District of Columbia government is strengthened and enriched by having a well-qualified and diverse work force. To that end, the District government has revised its hiring practices to remove barriers to applicants, who have been previously incarcerated and who have been rehabilitated, seeking gainful employment with the District government. Assisting returning citizens with finding employment reduces recidivism, strengthens our communities, and saves taxpayers' money.


Hiring agencies are required to use the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to fill positions within their agencies. To the extent that hiring agencies use paper or electronic versions of the D.C. Government Employment Application (D.C. 2000), the hiring agencies must ensure that the applicants are using the latest version of the D.C. 2000 (see attachment Form 1). The use of previous forms of the D.C. 2000 must be discontinued.

Screening Process

For positions that require criminal background checks pursuant to a Federal or District of Columbia law or regulation, such as the Child and Youth, Safety and Health Omnibus Amendment Act of 2004 (“CYSHA”), D.C. Official Code § 4-1501.05, et seq., hiring agencies shall include the following notice on their vacancy announcements:

This position requires a criminal background check. Therefore, you may be required to provide information about your criminal history in order to be appointed for this position.

Agencies may only inquire into an applicant’s criminal background after extending a conditional offer of employment. To facilitate the criminal background check, the hiring agencies shall provide the applicant with four forms, made available by the Compliance Unit of DCHR, to complete: (1) Criminal Background Check Referral Form for Employees, New Hires and Volunteers in Safety Sensitive Positions; (2) Individual Notification of Criminal Background Check and Traffic Record Check Requirements Form; (3) Criminal Background Check Affirmation Form; and (4) Authorization Form. The applicant will submit those forms to the Metropolitan Police Department.

If the applicant has a criminal history, the Compliance Unit will conduct a suitability analysis. Agencies are not to inquire into an applicant’s criminal history directly. The Compliance Unit will forward the results of the suitability analysis to the hiring agency

Agencies, conversely, are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal background for positions that do not require a criminal background check by Federal or District of Columbia law or regulation.

Enforcement of the Fair Criminal Record Screening Amendment Act of 2014

The Office of Human Rights is tasked with enforcing the Fair Criminal Record Screening Amendment Act of 2014. Part of OHR’s enforcement of the law is to receive complaints from applicants who believe that a violation of the procedures provided in this instruction has occurred. Subsequently, the Commission on Human Rights investigates the claims of applicants, and if the Commission finds that a violation has occurred, the Commission is authorized to issue a monetary penalty against a District government agency. For more information, please review OHR’s Criminal Background Screenings and Employment Fact Sheet for Employers (see attachment Form 2).

Legal Authorities and Applicability

Authorities: Fair Criminal Record Screening Amendment Act of 2014, effective December 12, 2014, D.C. Law 20-152; Returning Citizen Public Employment Inclusion Amendment Act of 2010, effective March 31, 2011, D.C. Law 18-340; and

Applicability: The provisions of this instruction apply to those District government agencies which are subordinate to the Mayor's personnel authority. Other personnel authorities or independent agencies may adopt any or all of these procedures to provides guidance to employees under their respective jurisdictions.


As used in this instruction -

"applicant" means any person considered or who requests to be considered for employment by a District government agency.

"conditional offer" means an offer that is conditional solely on the results of the District government agency's subsequent inquiring into or gathering information about the applicant's criminal record; or some other employment-related contingency expressly communicated to the applicant at the time of the offer.

"inquiry" means any direct or indirect conduct intended to gather criminal history information from or about an applicant using any method, including application forms, interviews, and criminal history checks.

Additional Information

For additional information concerning this instruction, contact the Department of Human Resources, Policy and Compliance Administration, by calling (202) 442-9700 or by sending an e-mail to


  1. I-4-26