U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
Regulations most recently checked for updates: May 28, 2023
(a) Subject to the limitations and requirements of paragraphs (f) and (g) of this section, OPM delegates to the heads of agencies authority for making suitability determinations and taking suitability actions (including limited, agency-specific debarments under § 731.205) in cases involving applicants for and appointees to covered positions in the agency.
(b) When an agency, acting under delegated authority from OPM, determines that a Governmentwide debarment by OPM under § 731.204(a) may be an appropriate action, it must refer the case to OPM for debarment consideration. Agencies must make these referrals prior to any proposed suitability action, but only after sufficient resolution of the suitability issue(s), through subject contact or investigation, to determine if a Governmentwide debarment appears warranted.
(c) Agencies exercising authority under this part by delegation from OPM must adhere to OPM requirements as stated in this part and OPM's issuances described in § 731.102(c). Agencies must also implement policies and maintain records demonstrating that they employ reasonable methods to ensure adherence to these OPM issuances.
(d)(1) A hiring agency may not make specific inquiries concerning an applicant's criminal or credit background of the sort asked on the OF–306 or other forms used to conduct suitability investigations for Federal employment (i.e., inquiries into an applicant's criminal or adverse credit history) unless the hiring agency has made a conditional offer of employment to the applicant. Agencies may make inquiries into an applicant's Selective Service registration, military service, citizenship status, or previous work history, prior to making a conditional offer of employment to an applicant. However, in certain situations, agencies may have a business need to obtain information about the suitability or background of applicants earlier in the process. If so, agencies must request an exception from the Office of Personnel Management, in accordance with the provisions of 5 CFR part 330 subpart M.
(2) OPM reserves the right to undertake a determination of suitability based upon evidence of falsification or fraud relating to an examination or appointment at any point when information giving rise to such a charge is discovered. OPM must be informed in all cases where there is evidence of material, intentional false statements, or deception or fraud in examination or appointment, and OPM will take a suitability action where warranted.
(e) When an agency, exercising authority under this part by delegation from OPM, makes a suitability determination or changes a tentative favorable placement decision to an unfavorable decision, based on an OPM report of investigation or upon an investigation conducted pursuant to OPM-delegated authority, the agency must:
(1) Ensure that the records used in making the determination are accurate, relevant, timely, and complete to the extent reasonably necessary to ensure fairness to the person in any determination;
(2) Ensure that all applicable administrative procedural requirements provided by law, the regulations in this part, and OPM issuances as described in § 731.102(c) have been observed;
(3) Consider all available information in reaching its final decision on a suitability determination or suitability action, except information furnished by a non-corroborated confidential source, which may be used only for limited purposes, such as information used to develop a lead or in interrogatories to a subject, if the identity of the source is not compromised in any way; and
(4) Keep any record of the agency suitability determination or action as required by OPM issuances as described in § 731.102(c).
(f) OPM may revoke an agency's delegation to make suitability determinations and take suitability actions under this part if an agency fails to conform to this part or OPM issuances as described in § 731.102(c).
(g) OPM retains jurisdiction to make final determinations and take actions in all suitability cases where there is evidence that there has been a material, intentional false statement, or deception or fraud in examination or appointment. OPM also retains jurisdiction over all suitability cases involving a refusal to furnish testimony as required by § 5.4 of this chapter. Agencies must refer these cases to OPM for suitability determinations and suitability actions under this authority. Although no prior approval is needed, notification to OPM is required if the agency wants to take, or has taken, action under its own authority (5 CFR part 315, 5 CFR part 359, or 5 CFR part 752) in cases involving material, intentional false statement in examination or appointment, or deception or fraud in examination or appointment; or refusal to furnish testimony as required by § 5.4 of this title. In addition, paragraph (a) of this section notwithstanding, OPM may, in its discretion, exercise its jurisdiction under this part in any case it deems necessary.