Clean Record Agreements and Federal Employees


Former President Trump took multiple measures against protecting labor workers and employees in the federal sector. One particular action prohibited federal employees from clearing their employment records. This limited the worker’s ability to apply for another job without an employer accessing information, such as previous terminations, reprimands, and performance evaluations. These records might include flawed or unfair circumstances that can negatively impact careers and future employment.

Unfortunately, when a federal employee has a termination on their record, they have to check a box confirming that an employer terminated them in the past. This can significantly affect the hiring process and decrease the chance of a job offer. Applying for work in the federal sector means encountering issues when completing OF-306.

This form asks the prospective employee if, within the last five years, they:

  • Quit after someone told them they would be fired
  • Were terminated for any reason
  • Were debarred by the Office of Personnel Management or another federal agency from federal employment
  • Mutually agreed to leave due to specific issues

Before Trump’s efforts, federal agencies could adjust their employees’ files. They could remove information involving unfair disciplinary actions so employees could avoid further litigation. Having a clean employment record allowed federal workers to start with a clean slate and pursue jobs without worrying about how a potential employer would perceive their abilities.

What Are Clean Record Agreements?

President Joe Biden signed the Executive Order on Protecting the Federal Workforce on January 22, 2021. This order rescinds previous executive orders signed by former President Trump. Effectively, it suspends enforcing the regulations under the previous order that negatively affected federal employees. It also instructs the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to complete a notice and comment process to modify the orders signed by Trump.

A clean record agreement (CRA) is a contract between an agency and a past or current employee in the federal sector. The federal agency agrees to remove the potentially damaging personnel action or performance record from the employee’s history during a settlement. The employee agrees to resolve a claim made against the federal agency in exchange.

The goal of settling a lawsuit with a CRA is to limit or eliminate the impact an employee’s record could have on their ability to seek another federal job in the future. A federal employer can include various provisions in the settlement agreement depending on the procedures they use. Some remove the personnel action from the employee file entirely, while others disclose how they will use information in the record when contacted by a prospective employer. 

How Has Federal Law Concerning CRAs Changed Recently?

A new executive order can’t revoke previous executive orders automatically. Agencies must complete various steps to revise or rescind regulations that have already been issued. These steps include:

  • Publish a notice in the Federal Register of proposed rulemaking
  • Give stakeholders a chance to comment on proposed regulations
  • Publish a final rule after considering the stakeholder comments

The OPM released a Guidance announcing it will prepare proposed rule changes in the Federal Register for comment and notice. The Office has instructed federal agencies to reverse Trump’s executive order policies. Additionally, it emphasized that agencies should implement requirements under the President’s order without delay. This allows federal agencies to offer CRA settlements to employees involved in litigation against them.

How We Can Help

The Vaughn Law Firm has the experience and resources to fight for the rights of federal employees facing disputes with their employers. We understand the importance of seeking employment without fear that your personnel file will ruin your opportunities. You can count on our dedicated federal employment law attorneys in Washington, DC, and Decatur, GA, to provide the legal representation and guidance you need.

If you’re involved in litigation against your employer and want to learn more about your options regarding a clean record agreement, call the Vaughn Law Firm immediately. We can review your case during a free consultation and advise what we can do for you. Call us now at 877-615-9495.