The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued final rules on Nov. 10 that aim to revoke workforce policies set under former President Trump centered around how agencies handle employee misconduct and poor performance.


The final rules, posted to the Federal Register, aim 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 an executive order in January 2021 that revoked many of Trump’s workforce policies outlined in these executive orders, some policies from EO 13839 remain in effect.


The final rules will revoke the remaining Trump-era policies in effect, and support President Biden’s EO that aims to make the Federal government “a model employer.” 


“OPM believes the final revisions will support the implementation of an executive order to empower agencies to rebuild the career Federal workforce and protect the civil service rights of their employees while preserving appropriate mechanisms for pursuing personnel actions where warranted,” OPM wrote.


One key 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 stated in the proposed regulations. “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.


The implementation date for OPM’s final rules is Dec. 10.

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.