Use of Background Checks in Employment and Placement Decisions

Number:

3.6.2 

Policy/Operational Procedure Name:

Use of Background Checks in Employment and Placement Decisions

Sponsor:

Tom Jaynes
Executive Vice President, Academics and Student Engagement

Custodian:

Human Resources

Effective Date:

July 1, 2014

Next Review Date:

July 2018

Location:

durhamtech.edu/policies-and-procedures/background-checks

Citation:

N/A

 

Policy Statement

A criminal background check shall be part of the employment process for all new full-time employees, new part-time employees, and rehires when not employed by the college for more than one year effective July 1, 2014. Background checks may also be required for employees or student workers for employment or placement in select, sensitive positions or as part of their educational curriculum. Background checks are conducted for the purposes of protecting college resources and promoting a welcoming and safe environment for employees and students.

Procedure

Section One: Persons Covered

Persons with conditional offers of employment, current employees, and other student workers who seek employment, reassignment, promotion, transfer to work with, in close proximity to, or to provide instruction to minors under the age of 18 or other vulnerable populations are subject to this policy. Persons with conditional offers of employment, current employees, and other student workers who seek employment, reassignment, promotion, transfer, or clinical placement to work in select positions involving sensitive information, affiliate agreements where the other party is requiring record or criminal background checks, college assets, or positions associated with providing a safe environment are also subject to this policy.

1.A Persons with Conditional Offers of Employment

Persons with conditional offers of employment to fill vacancies posted on or after July 1, 2014, will have a criminal background check completed prior to beginning employment. This policy applies to all vacant positions at the college in all categories of employment.

No person with a conditional offer of employment may commence employment with the college until the background check process has been completed. The college will subsume the cost for the criminal background check. Persons with conditional offers of employment are not subject to a processing fee.

1.B Persons with Conditional Offers of Employment

All full-time and continuing part-time faculty and staff continuously employed by the college prior to July 1, 2014 will not be subject to a background check unless there are specific job categories that warrant a background check. Specific job categories include current employees in select positions who work with, in close proximity to, or to provide instruction to minors under the age of 18 or other vulnerable populations; or positions involving sensitive information, affiliate agreements where the other party is requiring record or criminal background checks, college assets, or positions associated with providing a safe environment. These employees may be subject to a background check.

All full-time and continuing part-time faculty and staff employed by the college prior to or after July 1, 2014 who have had a change of status related to any criminal conviction since the first date of employment must report this change of status to the director of Human Resources. Employees with a change of status will be subject to a background check.

The college will subsume the cost for the criminal background check. Current employees are not subject to a processing fee for the background check.

1.C Student Workers

Students applying for work with the college or required as part of their educational curriculum to work with, in close proximity to, or to provide instruction to minors under the age of 18 or other vulnerable populations; or in select positions involving sensitive information, affiliate agreements where the other party is requiring record or background checks, college assets, clinicals, or positions associated with providing a safe environment are subject to a background check. The college will subsume the cost for the criminal background check for current students who are applying for work-study or other part-time hourly positions with the college. Students who must complete a criminal background check as part of their education curriculum may be subject to a processing fee and should follow the procedures associated with the educational program requirements.

1.D Positions Requiring Additional Standards

This policy and procedures seeks to establish a minimum standard for criminal background checks for persons with conditional offers of employment, current employees, and students. Employees in specific positions at the college (e.g. campus police officers, public service instructors, asset management positions, clinical or health profession instructors, etc.) may have more specific or stringent requirements in accordance with professional accreditation, licensure, or local, state, or federal laws. In such instances, the more stringent or specific standards to conduct criminal background checks should be used.

The college will conduct further inquiry on and scrutiny of persons with conditional offers of employment whose job responsibilities will require frequent handling of cash assets and/or management of financial bookkeeping and accounting records and who have a recent declaration of bankruptcy or other credit history concerns.

Section Two: Types of Background Checks Obtained

The college will obtain a National Criminal Records background check on persons with conditional offers of employment, current employees, and student workers specified in our procedures from a third party vendor (herein incorporated by reference). These background checks will be for employment and required curriculum purposes as specified in these procedures and will consist of reports, in part, verifying information provided by the individual, such as name, aliases, current and former addresses, social security number, telephone numbers, etc. The National Criminal Records background check will be used as a broad sweeping locator to provide information pertaining to an individual’s criminal convictions at the felony and misdemeanor levels as well as sex offender registries. Should this locator indicate the need to check for further information at the state level or from other sources, this additional information will be obtained. Additional criminal background checks, credit history, and driving records may be obtained for positions requiring additional professional or ethical standards (e.g. campus police officers, public service instructors, asset management positions, clinical or health profession instructors) as appropriate to the position and in accordance with the law.

Comprehensive and specific rules that account for all of the potential information that may surface from a background check are difficult to establish. However, the following guidelines will provide college administrators with principles for exercising appropriate, consistent, and lawful discretion in administering the college’s policy.

2.A False or Misleading Information

Persons with conditional offers of employment, current employees, and student workers who are covered by this policy and procedure must provide accurate information. Persons with conditional offers of employment who provide false or misleading information on their employment applications or during the employment or placement process will be disciplined, up to and including termination, upon the discovery of the false or misleading information. Current employees who provide false or misleading information, fail to accurately and timely report a change of status, or attempt to bypass the process will be disciplined, up to and including termination, upon the discovery of the false or misleading information. Student workers who provide false or misleading information will immediately forfeit their opportunity with the college and will be barred from future opportunities. Examples include but are not limited to the following situations:

  • The person with a conditional offer of employment states on the employment application that he or she has not been convicted of a felony within the past seven years, yet the background check confirms such a conviction;

  • The person with a conditional offer of employment, current employee, or student worker provides a social security number that the background check reveals to be nonexistent or that cannot be verified as belonging to the individual; and

  • The person with a conditional offer of employment, current employee, or student worker provides false credentials or qualifications.

2.B Criminal Convictions

Although a disqualification is possible, a previous conviction does not automatically disqualify a person with a conditional offer of employment from consideration for employment with the college and will not be used to discriminate on any basis prohibited by law or by college polices. The college will consider factors such as job responsibilities, age at the time of the offense, seriousness of the offense, bearing of the offense on an employee’s fitness or ability to perform one or more duties and responsibilities, the time that has lapsed since the occurrence of the offense, and any information produced regarding rehabilitation or good conduct to determine if the candidate may still be eligible for employment with the college. However, generally, the college declines to select individuals whose criminal conviction histories indicate dishonesty, unreliability, or a potential for violence or sexual misconduct. Examples of likely disqualifying criminal convictions include, but are not limited to, felony or misdemeanor convictions involving the following examples:

  • Child abuse, molestation, child endangerment;

  • Assault, battery, domestic violence;

  • Theft;

  • Embezzlement, forgery;

  • Sexual assault, stalking, rape;

  • Criminal mischief, damage to property, vandalism;

  • Fraud, deceptive practices; and

  • Weapons violations.

2.C Driving Records

The college requires that persons with conditional offers of employment and current employees applying, or working in positions in which operating a motor vehicle is within the scope of the duties or responsibilities must have valid driver’s licenses. For safety purposes, the college may disqualify persons with conditional offers of employment and current employees whose driving records indicate an inclination toward unsafe driving practices. The traffic violations that may disqualify persons with conditional offers of employment from employment include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Driving under the influence (“DUI”) or driving while impaired (“DWI”);

  • Vehicular manslaughter;

  • Negligent or reckless driving; and

  • Excessive citations for speeding or other moving violations.

2.D Bankruptcy and Credit Checks

The college will conduct further inquiry on and scrutiny of persons with conditional offers of employment whose job responsibilities will require frequent handling of cash assets and/or management of financial bookkeeping and accounting records and who have a recent declaration of bankruptcy or other credit history concerns.

No decision will be based solely on a person with a conditional offer of employment or employee having ever filed for bankruptcy or upon credit history. Although a disqualification is possible, a declaration of bankruptcy does not automatically disqualify a person with a conditional offer of employment from consideration for employment with the college and will not be used to discriminate on any basis prohibited by law or by college polices. The college will consider factors such as job responsibilities, age at the time of the declaration, the time that has lapsed since the declaration, and the nature of the responsibilities of the position the candidate is being consider for to determine if the candidate may still be eligible for employment with the college.

Section Three: General Procedures

In order to ensure consistent application of this policy, the Human Resources Office will coordinate background checks in accordance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and any other pertinent laws. Human Resources staff will provide persons with conditional offers of employment and employees with clear information regarding the process the office uses to obtain a background check.

  • If the results are free of convictions or other detrimental information, the Human Resources office will notify the appropriate supervisor to proceed with employment or placement.

  • If the results are not free of convictions or other detrimental information, the Director of Human Resources or his or her designee will discuss the findings with the appropriate division head (the position’s division). To ensure that false or erroneous information has not been transmitted in the background report, and to comply with the FCRA, the following measures shall be taken:

    • If withdrawal of an invitation to continue the employment or placement process or further consideration is being contemplated, the Director of Human Resources or his or her designee will inform the person with a conditional offer of employment of the background report pursuant to the FCRA requirements. The Director of Human Resources or his or her designee will provide the candidate with a copy of the background report, a copy of candidate’s rights under FCRA, and a pre-adverse action notice via certified mail, return receipt requested.

    • The person with a conditional offer of employment or current employee will be given an opportunity to address the concerns and issues revealed in the background report. The person with a conditional offer of employment or current employee should address concerns or issues directly with the Director of Human Resource in writing. The Director of Human Resources will wait five (5) business days from the date the return receipt is signed, or ten (10) business days from the date the copy of the report is mailed, if the return receipt is not signed, before continuing the selection process.

If a candidate, employee, or those involved in the selection process pose a question about the continuation of the selection and recommendation process, the division head, Director Human Resources, and the president will review the matter. The president will make the final decision concerning the employability of the candidate or, when necessary, the continued employment of an employee. If it is determined that a person with a conditional offer of employment will not be further considered based upon information revealed in a background report, the selection process will proceed with other candidates. The Director of Human Resources or his or her designee will notify the person with a conditional offer of employment that he or she is no longer eligible for the position. This notification must be sent certified mail, return receipt requested, and contain the following information:

  • The name, address, and phone number of the Consumer Reporting Agency (“CRA”) that provided the report, including a toll-free telephone number if the CRA compiles and maintains files on consumers on a nationwide basis.

  • A statement that the CRA did not make the adverse decision and is unable to give specific reasons why the adverse decision was made.

  • Notification that the person with a conditional offer of employment has the right to the following:

    • Obtain a free copy of the criminal background report from the Human Resources Office;

    • Dispute the accuracy or completeness of any information in the report in writing to the director of Human Resources Office; and

    • Assurance that background check records are maintained in the Human Resources Office in accordance with North Carolina law.

Confidentiality of Background Information

In order to ensure consistent application of this policy, the Human Resources Office will coordinate background checks in accordance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and any other pertinent laws. Human Resources staff will provide persons with conditional offers of employment and employees with clear information regarding the process the office uses to obtain a background check.

Background checks, including the authorization form, are to be retained in a separate file from personnel and person with a conditional offer of employment files.

Managers and supervisors who violate this policy in the hiring or selection process are subject to disciplinary action, up to and including discharge.

Purpose/Definitions

Durham Technical Community college is committed to providing a welcoming, safe, and secure environment for our students, faculty, staff, and visitors. Our goal is to provide a setting in which the college’s human and capital resources are well-protected.