Background Checks: Information for Candidates for Employment

The university conducts job-related background checks prior to hire in order to ensure a safe and secure work environment in which university faculty, staff, students, resources, and assets are protected, while protecting the integrity and confidentiality of information gathered during the evaluation. Background checks are normally conducted on the finalist only following the issuance of a contingent offer of employment. Background checks must be completed prior to the first day of employment or engagement with the university. Any exceptions to this practice must be approved by the Office of Human Resources, Talent Acquisition.

Types of Background Checks

A standard background check will include a Social Security Number verification, a misdemeanor and felony criminal history check, and National Sex Offender Registry check.

Additional background checks may be required for specific positions based on job-related need, including but not limited to the following:

  • Degree Verification: required for all positions where a degree was specified as a minimum requirement for hire
  • Motor Vehicle Record: required for positions where it is anticipated that an individual will be regularly required to drive a vehicle on University business, whether University-owned or other vehicle. Note: this does not substitute for the University’s driver certification process, but the newly hired employee may use the record obtained to support the request for driver certification.
  • Credit History Check: Conducted only for positions with extensive authority to commit financial resources of the university or with extensive fiduciary responsibility for financial resources of the university; or as required by law, and as appropriate for positions with the following responsibilities:
    • Broad and extensive access to personally identifying information about students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, or research subjects;
    • Direct access to and handling of cash and cash equivalents (i.e., checks, credit card receipts, negotiable securities);
    • Public safety and campus security
    • Note that federal law prohibits discrimination as a result of personal bankruptcy.
  • Employment Verifications: note that search committees are required to complete professional reference checks prior to extending a contingent offer of employment. Employment verifications may also be completed as needed by the background check vendor.
  • License Verification: Confirmation that the selected candidate or employee possesses all technical/professional licenses required for the position and as cited by the candidate in application materials or search processes, including verification of the disposition of such licenses

State or federal law or regulations, professional associations, licensing entities or contracting partners may impose additional background screening check requirements upon certain individuals (for example, the Medicare Exclusion/FACIS check). In these cases, the affected individual and department should coordinate the need for such a check with the Talent Acquisition unit.

Notification and Authorization

Search committees for tenure-track faculty positions will inform candidates of the University’s background check requirements during the selection process. For all other positions, a statement notifying potential applicants of the requirement for appropriate job related background check(s) will be included in the individual job postings.

Finalists for positions must authorize the university to conduct background checks. The finalist will receive email notification of the background check requirement and will be provided with authorization and disclosure forms.

The finalist is asked to provide identifying information, including other names used, Social Security Number and birthdate, driver license number, all addresses for the prior 7 years, and conviction history.

Processing Time

Human Resources is charged with obtaining background check reports and the initial evaluation of findings in order to ensure that decisions about findings are made consistently and are based on job-related analysis, taking into account the nature and context of the offense.

Background checks are typically completed within three business days. Some jurisdictions, particularly on the East Coast, may require additional time.

Candidates who have lived internationally may require an international check, depending on the duration and purpose of their travel (e.g. students who went on study abroad for a term but who never changed their permanent address may not be required to have an international check). International checks take additional time to process.

Candidates for employment who fail to participate fully or who provide inaccurate information in a background check will be eliminated from consideration for the position. Candidates may decline to authorize a background check; in such cases, no background check will be performed, but the candidate will not be considered further.

Evaluation of Results

Hiring authorities and departmental HR contacts are notified by email when finalists have successfully completed the background check process. Candidates are updated by the departmental HR contact or hiring authority.

If findings are present, the background report will be reviewed by Human Resources based on job-related analysis, taking into account the nature and context of the offense.  HR will notify the finalist of a finding (pre-adverse action notification), including providing access to the complete report and advising the finalist of their rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Human Resources will also ask the finalist to confirm that the report pertains to them and invite the finalist to provide any additional information for consideration.

Following this step, Human Resources will make an initial determination as to whether the finding is sufficeintly job-related. . If Human Resources has insufficient information about the position requirements to make this determination, they will seek additional information from the hiring unit.

  • If findings are determined to not be sufficiently job-related, then HR will consider the background check process successfully completed and notify hiring authorities and departmental HR contacts.
  • If findings are determined to be substantially  job-related, or if there is insufficient information to make such a determination, Human Resources will then make a recommendation regarding the findings to the Provost (for tenure-track or non-tenure-track instructional faculty), to the VPRI (for research non-tenure-track faculty) or the area Vice President (for staff), or the designees of individuals serving in these roles. The recommendation will include whether disqualification from that specific job is warranted, based on application of the criteria mentioned above.

Disqualification Based on Findings

If a decision is made to withdraw the contingent offer of employment, Human Resources will notify the finalist that they are not eligible to fill the position based on the unsatisfactory results of a background check, and will provide the finalist with all required notifications pursuant to the Fair Credit Reporting Act and/or other applicable law(s), including the right to review the report and how to contact agency(ies) that provided the background check results (adverse action notification).

Confidentiality

Information gathered as a result of background screening is considered sensitive, and disclosure is restricted to those individuals who need the information in order to perform their job duties. Records are maintained by the university's Human Resources department in accordance with the university’s records retention schedule.


Current University Employees

For current employees, changes in employment initiated by the employee (e.g. application to a competitive recruitment or acceptance of a new position via direct appointment) will require a background check if the new assignment is designated as requiring a background check or required check(s) was not previously performed. Changes in employment that are initiated by the university, at the university’s discretion (e.g. change in job functions, transfer to new positions as an accommodation, participation in a layoff process, direct appointment via a re-employment pool) will not typically require a background check unless the new position triggers requirements under Collective Bargaining Agreements or state or federal law.

If a current employee has recently had a background check and is being considered for a secondary or supplemental assignment designated as requiring a background check, the findings of the check will be reviewed for relevance to the secondary or supplemental assignment.