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Applicant Complaint: Criminal History Inquiry

Effective December 20, 2021, Judiciary employing offices may not ask applicants about criminal history either orally or in writing, prior to extending a conditional offer of employment, except to applicants for the following positions:

  • Magistrate judges and bankruptcy judges
  • Law enforcement positions, e.g., probation and pretrial services officers
  • Positions requiring a Single Scope Background Investigation, including court unit executives, federal public defenders, first assistant federal public defenders, chief deputies and other second-in-command positions, and law enforcement support positions with access to criminal records systems
  • Managerial positions in human resources, finance and budget, procurement, administration, and information technology

Because judges are not “covered employees” under the Fair Chance Act, they are permitted to make criminal history inquiries to applicants for chambers staff positions, including volunteers, interns, and externs, prior to extending an employment offer, should they deem it appropriate to do so.

This applicant complaint process is the only avenue to report violations of the Fair Chance to Compete for Jobs Act prohibiting criminal history inquiries prior to a conditional offer of employment, subject to the exceptions listed above. This administrative process in no way creates a private right of action for any individual or entity to file any legal action based on a violation or alleged violation. 


This complaint procedure applies to alleged violations meeting the following criteria:

  • The violation occurred during the application process for a position with the federal Judiciary; and
  • The violation occurred after the law’s effective date of December 20, 2021

The following information must be submitted by email with your complaint to:

Complainant Information

  • Name used during the application process
  • Full Address
  • Telephone
  • Email

How do you prefer we contact you?

  • Email
  • Phone
  • Mail

Incident information

  • Date alleged violation occurred
  • Briefly describe the violation
  • Employing or hiring office
  • Employing or hiring office address
  • Employing or hiring office telephone
  • Title of the position you applied for
  • Name of specific individual, by name or title, who requested criminal history information
  • Upload an image, photo, or pdf of the job posting/announcement for the position you applied
  • Upload an image, photo, or pdf of the application if criminal history information was requested and your application was denied due to lack of criminal history information