Hiring employees is a complex task. A manager must review the candidate's qualifications and the skills needed for the position. They then must look at whether they are a veteran or have other factors that could give them a preference. And the manager must possess good judgment.
A recent report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) found that the Internal Revenue Service hired some individuals who had been previously employed by the IRS and had performance or conduct issues.
The TIGTA found that about 20 percent of those rehired employees who had prior performance or conduct issues had new issues of the same type after their rehire. The IRS noted that prior conduct and performance did not play a "significant" role during the rehiring process, and there appeared to be uncertainty by the IRS as to the amount of consideration that can be given to these issues due to other federal hiring regulations.
While the report lists some of the misconduct that had occurred, it is difficult to determine the seriousness some of the disciplinary actions or misconduct. Someone stealing taxpayer information for use in an identity theft scheme is very different from someone who is involved with their own bankruptcy filing.
And everyone likes to offer a second chance. Perhaps there was a personal conflict with another employee or manager, or maybe they were suffering other issues like a failing marriage or substance abuse. As the TIGTA found, 80 percent of those rehired had no conduct or performance issues.
It appears the IRS and OPM need to clarify the degree to which prior conduct and disciplinary activity should be considered before rehiring a former employee. At the same time, hiring managers must be well qualified and experienced, in order to judge the qualities and choose the best persons for a position.
Washingtonpost.com, "IRS rehired hundreds of ex-employees with troubled records," Josh Hicks, February 6, 2015