Hastings College is committed to providing a safe and secure environment for students, faculty, staff and visitors as well as protecting the college’s physical and intellectual resources. This policy will aid in achieving this environment and is intended to support the verification of credentials, employment history, criminal history and other information relative to employment decisions that assist the college in meeting its commitments.
Hastings College conducts background checks on all hires of faculty, administrators, adjunct and/or affiliate faculty and staff post-offer (contingency offer). The final candidate for a college position deemed to be sensitive (as defined in Section 188.8.131.52.2 Criteria for Determining Sensitive Positions) will be required to pass a background check prior to beginning the duties of the new position. Hastings College will use a third party administrator to conduct background checks. The type of information that can be collected by this agency includes, but is not limited to, criminal history (including sexual crimes), verification of social security number, verification of employment, motor vehicle records and verification of education. This process is conducted to verify the accuracy of the information provided by the candidate and determine his/her suitability for employment in regards to his or her trustworthiness and the safety or wellbeing of the members of the College's community. The College will consider convictions within seven (7) years previous to the date of application in determining a candidate’s suitability for employment.
Background checks will be conducted, as outlined by this policy, on all new hires of faculty, administrators, adjunct and/or affiliate faculty and staff offered a position after December 31, 2010. Employees hired prior to January 1, 2011 will only be subject to a background check in the event of a transfer, promotion, or reassignment into a sensitive position.
Hastings College will ensure that all background checks are held in compliance with applicable federal and state statutes, such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Offer of Employment Process
When making any offer of employment to a successful candidate, the hiring committee chair or responsible hiring party must inform the candidate that the offer is contingent upon the successful results of the background check. Sample letters must be reviewed by Human Resources before mailing. The Human Resources Office will then facilitate any and all applicable background checks on the final candidate.
- New Hires: Background checks are required for all new hires. This includes all faculty, administrator, adjunct and/or affiliate faculty or staff member in a full or part-time regular appointment or a term appointment. The background check must be completed and results verified before any candidate for a sensitive position begins work. At no time should a potential employee for a sensitive position begin work until the Human Resources Office has verified and approved the results of the background check. Background checks for prospective employees for a non-sensitive position must be completed within five (5) days after their contracted start date. All relevant fees associated with background checks will be at the expense of the hiring department.
- Rehires: A background check is required for all rehires that have been separated for longer than one (1) year.
- Employment Contingency: Background checks are to be processed after a contingent offer of employment has been extended to the applicant. Note: The offer of employment is contingent upon the successful results of the background check.
- Authorization by Applicant: In order to be eligible for consideration for employment, all candidates must complete the background check authorization form. This is done by having the applicant complete the Employment Background Authorization form. This form is available to the applicant on the Hastings College website and can be sent via e-mail to the candidate as well. To expedite the process, the candidate may fax the completed and signed form to the attention of the Director of Human Resources.
Note: All applicants must complete an Employment Background Authorization form as this is required to be submitted to the third party administrator conducting the background check.
Verification of Background Checks
The results of the background check will be sent directly to the Director of Human Resources.
If the background check is favorable, i.e. does not demonstrate any gaps in the candidate's history, does not display any criminal convictions or other indicia of lack of trustworthiness or unsuitability for the position in question, the Director of Human Resources will notify the hiring committee chair that the candidate is approved to begin employment.
If any discrepancies in the candidate's background are identified or if the candidate has a criminal history, the Director of Human Resources will convene the Background Check Review Committee for final determination.
Background Review Committee
Any criminal conviction check resulting in discrepancies or identification of a criminal record will be reviewed and evaluated prior to a determination of suitability for employment by a senior level fact-finding committee.
The hiring coordinators/department/search committee shall not be on the fact-finding committee in order to maintain the strictest confidentiality.
In determining an individual’s suitability for employment or change in job duties where the Individual under consideration has criminal convictions, the Committee will consider the specific duties of the position, the nature and gravity of the offense, the age of the conviction, the number of offenses and whether the offenses were disclosed on the application.
The hiring committee will be notified of findings from this review committee. If a candidate is found employable, the search chair and department will not receive information pertaining to the criminal check. Should a finding of unsuitability for employment exist, the Director of Human Resources will proceed by coordinating due process for the candidate by communicating such findings to the candidate and allowing the candidate to respond.
Due process should include a substantial relationship test with the following considerations:
- Facts and circumstances of the conduct and its relationship to the duties and responsibilities of the position.
- Gravity of the offense.
- Time since the conviction and completion of sentence.
- Record of performance at other positions.
- If position is one of trust, authority and public image on behalf of the college.
Final determination of employability will be made by the review committee upon completion of due process.
Adverse Action Notifications
If a background check is returned with unacceptable results as determined by the Background Check Committee, the Human Resources Office will notify the search committee chair.
When applicable, the Human Resources Office will contact the candidate to inform him/her that Hastings College is rescinding its contingent offer of employment. The candidate will then receive written notification and a summary of the candidate’s rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The candidate will be given the opportunity to review a copy of the report, which informs him/her of his/her rights to dispute inaccurate information.
Policies & Procedures
It is the policy of the college to conduct thorough background checks on all newly hired faculty, administrators, adjunct and/or affiliate faculty, and staff appointments.
Background Search Requirements
Information included in a background check may include, but is not limited to:
Criminal Offender Profile Summary (COPS)
This summary report will include the following:
- National Criminal Records Search: nationwide search on all high level criminal offenses including felonies, violent crimes against persons, and significant drug offenses. This report may not include misdemeanor level offenses.
- Nationwide Sex Offender Search: nationwide search to determine if an applicant is a convicted sex offender.
- FBI Most Wanted List Search: search to determine if an applicant is listed on the FBI Most Wanted List.
The college may also request a County Criminal Search of all records that exist in a county courthouse to supplement the nationwide search. This search will return all misdemeanor and felony level offenses on a county level. (NOTE: If the COPS search returns adverse information on a candidate, the Fair Credit Reporting Act requires that the Credit Reporting Agency verify this information with a county level search in the jurisdiction identified by the COPS search.)
Social Security Number Trace
A social security number trace will be conducted prior to any employment action resulting in placement of a new faculty, administrator, adjunct and/or affiliate faculty or staff member in a full or part-time regular appointment or term appointment. This process will verify the authenticity of the SSN provided by the applicant and will also identify all names and addresses associated with that SSN.
Motor Vehicles Records Search
A single state search of motor vehicle records will be conducted prior to any employment action resulting in placement of a new faculty, administrator, adjunct and/or affiliate faculty or staff member in a full or part-time regular appointment or term appointment. An applicant must provide a valid driver’s license which will be verified through the state of issuance and will result in a report of motor vehicle offenses including moving violations, DUI and DWI offenses.
Prior employment history verification will be conducted prior to any employment action resulting in placement of a new faculty, administrator, adjunct and/or affiliate faculty or staff member in a full or part-time regular appointment or term appointment. Information sought will include but is not limited to: dates of employment, position type, salary range and reason for discharge.
Educational or Degree Verification
Educational, professional credential and employment verifications may be conducted prior to any employment action resulting in placement of a new faculty, administrator, adjunct and/or affiliate faculty or staff member in a full or part-time regular appointment or a term appointment. This verification will be conducted by making direct contact with an institution in conjunction with a request for an official transcript.
Interpol Criminal Database Search
A search of Interpol records to identify crimes and offenses that are comparable to felonies in the United States and other offenses such as misdemeanor offenses may be conducted prior to any employment action resulting in a new faculty, adjunct/affiliate faculty member or visiting scholar whose primary residence is outside of the United States.
Criteria for Determining Sensitive Positions
The Human Resources Office in consultation with the Vice President for Business Affairs and the President will determine whether a position is considered to be sensitive. Positions will be designated as sensitive before the position is posted. These types of positions will typically involve one or more of the following responsibilities:
- Senior administration (director, associate vice president, vice president, dean, president).
- Care, safety and security of people or property (security personnel, child care workers, camp staff).
- Direct access to or control over cash, checks, credit card account information (includes cash handling).
- Control over campus-wide or departmental business processes, either through functional roles or systems security access (network administrators, systems programmers, human resource management systems, payroll functions).
- Access to detailed personally identifiable information about students, faculty, administrators, staff or alumni which might enable identity theft (includes fundraising personnel, human resources and payroll personnel).
- Possession of building master or sub-master key access to residences and certain other facilities, particularly laboratories (custodial personnel, residential and student life personnel).
- Regular operation of college vehicles as part of assigned job duties.
Timing and Record Retention
- Background checks will be conducted prior to an offer of employment (sensitive positions) or will be conducted after an offer is made (non-sensitive positions), It will be necessary to obtain candidates’ social security numbers to initiate the background check process. It is not appropriate to obtain date of birth on a candidate until after an offer of hire is extended.
- Records received on criminal conviction checks for non-hires should be retained for three years after the position is filled.
- All background search records received for those hired should be maintained during entire course of employment, then destroyed six years after the employee has separated from employment with the College.