Background Check FAQ

Table of Contents 
    1. Why are background checks required prior to hire at the University of Oregon?
    2. Can I start work before my background check has been completed?
    3. Which positions require a background check at the University of Oregon?
    4. Do all applicants receive a background check?
    5. Are there any exceptions to requiring a criminal background check in the categories outlined above?
    6. How will I know if a background check is required for the position I’m interested in?
    7. What types of background checks are required at the University of Oregon?
    8. Do criminal convictions preclude me from employment at the university?
    9. What about convictions related to my expression of free speech (e.g. participation in protests) or activities that occurred prior to enactment of current laws (e.g. possession of controlled substances, which are now legal in limited jurisdictions)?
    10. What do I need to do to authorize a background check for employment?
    11. If I decline the requested background check, will I be able to work at the university?
    12. How long does it take to process a background check?
    13. How will I know if I’ve completed my background check successfully?
    14. Who is responsible for reviewing the background check result and making a decision about the finalist’s employment with the university?
    15. How are decisions made when a background check returns findings?
    16. If the contingent offer is withdrawn because of the criminal background check findings, how will I be notified?
    17. Will my background check remain confidential throughout my employment with the university?
    18. I’ve worked for the university for a long time and I never completed a background check?  Will I need to complete one to keep my job? What about if I apply for a new position or accept a promotion?
    19. I’m a current employee of the university and I recently completed a background check, will I need to complete another background check for my secondary job with the university?

Why are background checks required prior to hire at the University of Oregon?

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.

Can I start work before my background check has been completed?

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 Talent Acquisition unit in the Office of Human Resources.

Which positions require a background check at the University of Oregon?

University policy and Collective Bargaining Agreements state that positions will be designated as subject to background check based on an analysis of the position’s access and responsibilities.

Based on the presumption that the following categories meet one or more of the tests set forth in policy, the following positions are subject to a criminal background check prior to hire:

  • Tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty, including Pro-Tempore, Clinical (Professors of Practice), and Visiting Faculty; Instructors, Lecturers, and Librarians, and faculty serving in administrative roles
  • Post-Doctoral Scholars and Fellows
  • Research Associates/Assistants
  • Graduate Employees
  • Classified Staff
  • Officers of Administration, including those in interim or fixed-term assignments
  • Executives

Do all applicants receive a background check?

In most cases, background checks will be conducted for the finalist and only following a contingent offer of employment. Informal offer letters issued prior to completion of the background check will notify the finalist that the offer is contingent upon successful completion of any and all required background checks.

Are there any exceptions to requiring a criminal background check in the categories outlined above?

If the hiring authorities believe a particular position does not meet the tests set forth in policy, they can contact Human Resources to request further analysis of the background check requirement for that position.

How will I know if a background check is required for the position I’m interested in?

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.

A general statement about the university’s background check processes is provided on the Careers webpage (http://hr.uoregon.edu/jobs) This published statement serves as required notification to all candidates.

What types of background checks are required at the University of Oregon?

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.

Do criminal convictions preclude me from employment at the university?

No. The existence of a criminal conviction or other finding will not result in automatic disqualification from the applicant pool. Not all criminal convictions are considered to be job-related, and decisions about criminal convictions and employment are made on a case-by-case basis. Findings will be considered by the university to the extent they relate to the applicant’s suitability for employment in the position for which the applicant has applied, and may be considered based on the following factors:

  • Nature and gravity of the offense(s),
  • Time since conviction, completion of sentence or any other remediation, and
  • Degree of relevance to the position for which the candidate is being considered/employee is performing.

It is to be expected that there are university positions on which the public trust and reputational impact of the university rely, and evaluation of findings will of necessity include those factors.

Candidates have the right to access credit and/or criminal background check(s) information reviewed by the university and a description of the evaluation of findings; a summary of these rights is included in the background check authorization and release. For further questions, we invite candidates to contact Human Resources Talent Acquisition unit at 541-346-5512.

Academic freedom and the expression of free speech are critically important to the life of the academy. Findings arising from the expression of academic freedom or First Amendment rights will be reviewed according to the importance of those values within the academic community. Other convictions will be reviewed based on the factors defined for assessing all findings (see question 8).

What do I need to do to authorize a background check for employment?

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.

If I decline the requested background check, will I be able to work at the university?

Unfortunately, no. 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.

How long does it take to process a background check?

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.

How will I know if I’ve completed my background check successfully?

Hiring authorities and departmental HR contacts are notified by email when finalists have successfully completed the background check process.  You can contact the departmental HR contact for an update.

Who is responsible for reviewing the background check result and making a decision about the finalist’s employment with the university?

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

How are decisions made when a background check returns findings?

If findings are present, the background report will be reviewed by Human Resources based on the criteria outlined in question 8.  Human Resources 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 FCRA. 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 sufficiently job-related to seek next-level evaluation. 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 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.

If the contingent offer is withdrawn because of the criminal background check findings, how will I be notified?

If a decision is made to withdraw the contingent offer of employment, Human Resources will notify the candidate 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).

Will my background check remain confidential throughout my employment with the university?

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.

I’ve worked for the university for a long time and I never completed a background check?  Will I need to complete one to keep my job? What about if I apply for a new position or accept a promotion?

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.

The university also retains the right to conduct relevant background checks of current employees when it has reasonable grounds to do so. Some examples include:

  • a workplace incident has occurred
  • upon self-disclosure of criminal activity or upon the university being informed of such activity
  • upon the addition of a secondary or supplemental assignment.

Information discovered during a background check may serve as the basis for discipline against a current employee. The background screening check of a candidate who also is a current employee may impact the current employee's employment, particularly absent full self-disclosure.

I’m a current employee of the university and I recently completed a background check, will I need to complete another background check for my secondary job with the university?

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.