►The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has issued instructions to federal contractors on criminal background screening of employees. The OFCCP’s Directive 306, “Complying with Nondiscrimination Provisions: Criminal Record Restrictions and Discrimination Based on Race and National Origin,” urges contractors to consider federal antidiscrimination laws before refusing to hire applicants based on the results of criminal background checks. The OFCCP discourages contractors from using criminal background checks at all in hiring process. The OFCCP notes that if a background check is used, the check should be limited to convictions that are job-related and consistent with business necessity. The instructions mirror those issued last April by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
► A report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) finds that the government could do a better job protecting the physical security of federal buildings by applying security standards developed by the Interagency Security Committee (ISC), which is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The GAO studied security standards at property used by the executive branch but not protected by the Federal Protective Service (FPS). The executive branch is responsible for approximately 370,000 nonmilitary properties but the FPS protects only 9,000 of these. The GAO found that the ISC should conduct outreach to the executive branch to ensure that its standards are being used. Further, the GAO recommended that performance measures for physical security should be based on meeting the standards.
►The U.S. Office of Personnel Management has issued guidance to federal agencies on how to deal with domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault in the workplace. According to the guidance, agencies must grant time off for employees dealing with domestic violence, develop confidentiality policies, improve physical security in the workplace, enhance employee assistance programs, and codify discriminatory action against employees who perpetrate domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault. Agencies have been given four months to produce appropriate policies and six months after that to implement the policies.