Handbook EL-312 Revision: Screening Process Philosophy

USPS_HQEffective September 1, 2016, the Postal Service™ is revising Handbook EL-312, Employment and Placement, part 512, to update policy on the storage processes for certain pre-employment forms. The revision also clarifies what types of photo identification are suitable for admission to entrance examinations.

Handbook EL-312, Employment and Placement

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5 Suitability

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51 Employment Eligibility and Suitability

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512 Screening Process Philosophy

[Revise the second paragraph of 512 to read as follows:]

Proper execution of the screening process will do the following:

a. Identify applicants who meet suitability requirements; and

b. Give officials valuable information for use in considering applicants for employment.

512.1 Personal Qualifications

[Revise the text of 512.1 to read as follows:]

In addition to possessing the required skills and abilities, potential employees must have personal qualifications consistent with the characteristics in sections 512.11 through 512.14.

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512.13 Cooperation

[Revise the text of 512.13c to read as follows:]

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c. Courteously help coworkers and customers without complaint.

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512.2 Sequence of Screening Activities

[Revise the text of 512.2 to read as follows:]

The sequence of suitability activities in 512.21 and 512.22 is designed to conserve time and hasten the process of screening. An overview of other screening activities is in 512.23 through 512.26. Nothing in this section should be interpreted to prevent the Postal Service from taking action based on false information given during the screening process.

512.21 Preemployment Orientation

[Revise the text of 512.21 to read as follows:]

The objective of preemployment orientation is to provide those applicants whose standing on the pre-hire list is such that they will be considered for employment within a reasonable time an opportunity to become more familiar with the jobs for which they could receive future consideration. Applicants are scheduled for a preemployment orientation session consisting of, but not limited to, the following activities:

a. Tour of the job site.

b. Explanation of pay, benefits, terms of employment, job expectations, probationary⁄evaluation period, and training requirements that must be met to be retained.

c. Overview of screening requirements.

d. Explanation of corporate values.

e. Showing of realistic job preview videos, as appropriate, to enhance applicants’ understanding of the positions to be filled externally.

f. Collecting copies of the following documents:

1. SF 15, Claim for 10-Point Veteran Preference.

2. DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty.

3. Letters or certificates from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

4. Statements or retirement orders issued by branches of the Armed Forces.

512.22 Prescreening

[Revise the text of 512.22 to read as follows:]

The responsible hiring officials will establish a preemployment investigation file for each applicant who meets all of the following items:

a. Attends preemployment orientation;

b. Remains interested in postal jobs; and

c. Is likely to be considered.

The preemployment investigative file is the repository for all documents collected at the preemployment orientation, information obtained during suitability screening, and investigative results recorded on the Interview Sheet and Checklist (Exhibit 512.22, pages 1 and 2). The hiring officials will complete and sign the Post-Offer Checklist (Exhibit 512.22, page 3). Records that are kept in the preemployment investigation files are described below and are retained for five years and then sent to the Federal Records Center for another five years (see Handbook AS-353, Appendix. E, USPS 100.100 for details):

a. Correspondence and statements relating to applicants having relatives that are Postal Service employees.

b. Documents relating to claims for veterans’ preference including:

1. SF 15, Claim for 10-Point Veteran Preference;

2. Letters or certificates from the Department of Veterans Affairs; and

3. Statements or retirement orders issued by military service branches.

c. Copies of DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, and other military records used in adjudicating veteran’s preference and determining applicants’ suitability for military service history.

d. Interview Sheet (Exhibit 512.22, page 1 for bargaining unit hiring) or notes.

e. Interview Checklist (Exhibit 512.22, page 2).

f. Post-Offer Checklist (Exhibit 512.22, page 3).

The following records are collected, reviewed, and stored electronically:

a. PS Form 2591, Application for Employment, including supplemental application forms and any statements from applicants adding to original applications.

b. PS Form 2181-A, Preemployment Screening — Authorization and Release.

c. PS Form 2181-B, Applicant Drug Testing — Consent and Release.

d. PS Form 2181-D, Disclosure and Release for Consumer Reports and Investigative Consumer Report.

e. Police records (state, county, and local) and correspondence to and from police departments.

f. Driving abstracts from state departments of motor vehicles.

g. Results of automotive mechanic bench test, qualification review panel evaluation, typing test, or other requirements.

[Revise title and text of Exhibit 512.22 to read as follows:]

Exhibit 512.22 Interview Sheet and Checklist and Post-Offer Checklist (see Checklist)

[Delete Exhibit 512.221 in its entirety.]

512.221 Authorization and Release

[Revise the text of 512.221 to read as follows:]

Hiring officials should make no inquiry regarding the applicant without having the applicant complete the following:

a. PS Form 2181-A, Preemployment Screening — Authorization and Release;

b. PS Form 2181-B, Applicant Drug Testing — Consent and Release; and

c. PS Form 2181-D, Disclosure and Release for Consumer Reports and Investigative Consumer Report.

PS Forms 2181-A and 2181-D are collected electronically in connection with preemployment screening requests for motor vehicle abstracts, and criminal background checks, and PS Form 2181-B is collected electronically for drug testing. Completed hard copies of PS Forms 2181-A, 2181-B, and 2181-D are required for any screenings performed outside of the applicant tracking system (i.e., military records requests, noncompetitive hiring, etc.). If the applicant fails to complete PS Form 2181-A, 2181-B, or 2181-D, then the hiring official may be unable to make a suitability determination.

512.222 Applicant Identification

[Revise the text of 512.222 to read as follows:]

No applicant will be admitted to an entrance examination without photo ID. The ID must be:

a. Original;

b. Current;

c. Legible;

d. Issued by the federal or a state government; and

e. One of the following:

1. Driver License.

2. U.S. State-Issued ID Card.

3. U.S. Passport.

4. U.S. Military ID.

5. U.S. Resident Card⁄Green Card.

6. U.S. Employment Authorization Card or Document.

7. U.S. Government-Issued Visa.

8. U.S. Territory ID (Puerto Rico, Guam, etc.).

9. Postal Service employee ID.

512.223 Adjudicating Veterans’ Preference

[Revise the text of 512.223 to read as follows:]

It is of the utmost importance to verify veterans’ preference claims early in the process to ensure that the claimants are entitled to potential consideration. The HR Shared Service Center is responsible for the adjudication of veterans’ preference. Failure to verify claims could delay hiring, increase costs, and unnecessarily raise the expectations of applicants.

512.224 Reviewing the Employment Application

[Revise the text of 512.224 to read as follows:]

The hiring official must carefully review the applicants’ PS Form 2591 and all other forms for the following:

a. Omissions;

b. False statements;

c. Unaccounted periods; and

d. Poor employment records.

Each application must bear the applicant’s signature and must contain satisfactory answers to the items on the form. Human resources personnel or a certified interviewer notes the results of the review on the interview checklist (see Exhibit 512.22, page 2).

512.225 Initiating Inquiries

[Revise the text of 512.225 to read as follows:]

HR Shared Service Center will:

a. Obtain official personnel folders (OPFs) if an applicant has prior Postal Service or other federal service.

b. Perform county criminal record checks for all applicants after extension of a job offer.

c. Requests Department of Veterans Affairs records as appropriate. If an applicant who served on active duty in the Armed Forces received a character of service rating other than honorable, then the HR Shared Service Center will obtain the applicant’s statement about why the discharge was not honorable. Inquiries are then sent to the military for an explanation of why an honorable discharge was not given.

512.226 Applicants for Positions That Require a Commercial Driver’s License

[Revise the text of 512.226 to read as follows:]

As a condition of Postal Service employment, information must be obtained on these applicants’ positive alcohol or drug tests and refusals to be tested within the prior two years. The HR Shared Service Center will issue a release of information form to the applicant for signature. This form is sent to the previous employer and returned to the medical review officer. Only applicants who have been determined as drug-free are eligible for selection consideration. If the applicant refuses to sign the release or the previous employers refuse to release the information, the conditional job offer should be rescinded for insufficient information. See Management Instruction PO-720-2010-1, Alcohol and Drug Testing of Employees With a Commercial Driver’s License, December 5, 2009.

512.227 Reviewing Replies

[Revise the text of 512.227 to read as follows:]

HR Shared Service Center will review responses to the inquiries listed above as they are received.

512.228 Initiating Qualifying Tests

[Revise the text of 512.228 to read as follows:]

Applicants for jobs that have performance test requirements are scheduled for the performance examinations. Similarly, where a qualification review panel evaluation is required, applicants are sent appropriate supplemental forms for their completion to be evaluated by a review panel.

512.229 Evaluating and Determining Applicant Suitability

[Revise the text of 512.229 to read as follows:]

Selecting officials or designees evaluate and determine applicants’ overall or personal suitability for Postal Service employment by taking into account, but not limiting themselves to, the following factors:

a. Prior employment history (see 514.1).

b. Military service (see 514.2).

c. Criminal conviction history (see 514.3).

Selecting officials also make determinations regarding eligibility factors such as the following:

a. Minimum age (see 513.2).

b. Selective Service System status (if required) (see 515).

c. Driving history (if required) (see 516).

HR Shared Service Center rejects applicants found unsuitable or ineligible for employment and notifies these applicants in a letter of this decision. Applicants who are unsuitable are informed that they may request reconsideration. Applicants who are ineligible because they do not meet safe driving requirements (if driving is required) are provided a copy of the motor vehicle record and information necessary to file a dispute, if desired, of the record. If an unsuitable or ineligible decision is reversed after a review of a request for reconsideration, the applicant is reactivated.

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512.24 Selection and Extension of Job Offer

[Revise the text of 512.24 to read as follows:]

The object of the selection process is to select the best-qualified applicant for each vacancy and make a job offer. The rule of three requires that each vacancy be filled by selection of one of the three highest ranking applicants on the appropriate list, provided that a preference-eligible applicant is not passed over in order to select a lower ranking nonpreference eligible applicant (see 61, Selection Preparations and 62, Selection Procedures).

If fewer than three applicants are on the list, the hiring official may still select an applicant observing the same restriction on passing over a preference-eligible applicant. Applicants who have been disqualified are not included among the applicants to be considered (see 522, Deciding Eligibility and Suitability). To comply with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the applicant must have a bona fide job offer before participating in the medical assessment. The requirements of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits a federal employer from asking orally or in writing about the applicant’s physical fitness for the position before making the job offer (see Appendix E, paragraph d., Rehabilitation Act of 1973).

When the applicant receives a bona fide job offer, he or she will be asked about his or her criminal history. He or she will also be asked to authorize a criminal background check. No such check will be obtained until the applicant has completed the necessary authorization and release documents. See 512.221.

512.25 Post-Job Offer Activities

[Revise the text of 512.25 to read as follows:]

In addition to the medical assessment, post-job offer activities include the following tasks:

a. Verifying of employment eligibility using OMB Form
I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.

b. Initiating National Agency Checks with Inquiries (NACIs) or the appropriate background investigation for the position.

c. Reviewing of PS Form 61, Appointment Affidavit, to ensure its completion.

d. Administering the oath of office.

e. Reviewing official personnel folders (OPFs) from prior Postal Service or other agency employment, if they had not been available before appointment because of current employment.

f. Reviewing job expectations with the new employee (career or noncareer) using PS Form 1750, Employee Evaluation and⁄or Probationary Report, and the probationary period or first 90 days of employment (noncareer) evaluation process.

512.26 Components

[Revise the text of 512.26 to read as follows:]

Components of the suitability process listed below are covered in the sections indicated:

a. Veterans’ Preference Adjudication. 512.27

b. Eligibility Requirements. 513

1. Minimum Age. 513.2

2. Relatives. 513.3

3. Citizenship Policy. 513.4

c. Application for Employment. 514

1. Employment History. 514.1

2. Military Service History. 514.2

3. Criminal Conviction History. 514.3

4. Selective Service Registration. 515

5. Driving History (Driving Positions only). 516

6. Qualifying Tests. 517

7. Illegal Drug Use and Drug Screening. 518

d. Determination of Eligibility and Suitability. 52

1. Other Suitability Issues. 53

2. Preemployment Interview. 54

e. Selection and Extension of Job Offer. 545

f. New Hire Investigation. 56

g. Medical Suitability. 57

h. Appointment Affidavit. 581

i. Review of Official Personnel Folder. 582

j. Security Investigation. 583

k. Employee Evaluation. 584

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512.273 Verification of Entitlement to Preference Claimed

[Revise the text of 512.273 to read as follows:]

Veterans’ preference claimed is added to ratings in the Applicant Tracking System. Entitlement to and proof of preference are outlined in 48, Veterans’ Preference.

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We will incorporate these revisions into the next online update of Handbook EL-312, Employment and Placement, which is available on the Postal Service PolicyNet website: http:⁄⁄blue.usps.gov⁄cpim.

— Human Resources (HQ),
Employee Resource Management, 9-1-16

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