The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) published a proposed rule in the Federal Register today that looks to rescind previous Trump-era Federal workforce policies centered around how agencies handle employee misconduct and poor performance.

The proposed rule aims to rescind policies that stem from executive order (EO) 13839, one of three Federal workforce executive orders President Trump signed in May 2018. Although President Biden issued his own executive order in January 2021 that revoked many of Trump’s workforce policies outlined in these executive orders, some policies from EO 13839 still remain in effect.

OPM’s proposed rule is looking to rescind the remaining policies from EO 13839, finding the policies to be “inconsistent with the current policy of the United States to protect, empower, and rebuild the career Federal workforce as well as its current policy to encourage employee organizing and collective bargaining.”

Specifically, one policy OPM is looking to rescind prevents agencies from removing or altering information in an employee’s official personnel record, including any performance or conduct information, as part of a settlement agreement. Known as a “clean record” agreement, OPM is looking to rescind the prohibition of clean record agreements after “continued objections” to its final rule.

“OPM believes that the prohibition of clean record agreements hampers agencies’ ability to resolve informal and formal complaints at an early stage and with minimal costs to the agency,” OPM said. “Notably, stakeholders have stressed that the prohibition of clean record agreements limits resolution options; reduces the likelihood of parties reaching a mutually agreeable resolution of informal or formal complaints; potentially increases costly litigation and arbitration; and crowds the dockets of third-party investigators, mediators, and adjudicators.”

“While agencies may derive some value from having access to unaltered personnel records when making hiring decisions, OPM believes it should place greater weight on granting agencies a degree of flexibility to resolve individual workplace disputes,” the agency added.

OPM will accept comments on its proposed rule, including the repeal of the prohibition on clean record agreements, until Feb. 3, 2022.

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.
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