Wayne State University

Aim Higher

Policies-8

3.0.10.2 Background Checks (REVISED as of 7/31/13)

POLICY

The University is committed to hiring and utilizing the services of individuals who will perform their responsibilities competently, efficiently and safely.  Certain information about an individual’s history that is relevant to those goals is not always available through the usual application and interview process.  To help fill that gap, additional information may be obtained by independently collecting specific personal information about the individual through a background check.  For these reasons, the University has determined that all persons offered a position of employment at the University, as well as  those other persons specified in the next section of this policy, shall have a background check with satisfactory results before they begin performing services at the University.  The University shall use fair and consistent methods to obtain, analyze, apply, and retain background check information, free from discrimination and harassment and with minimal inconvenience to the applicant and the University.

SCOPE

Background Checks Policy applies to (1) External Final Candidates (as defined below) for employment or volunteer positions at the University, (2) persons identified by third-party staffing vendors for temporary positions at the University, and (3) individuals who are permitted to conduct activities involving minor children on university property pursuant to a contractual or other arrangement with the University, and (4) Temporary Employees (as defined below).

PURPOSE

This policy is intended to support the verification of credentials, criminal history, credit status, educational degrees, licenses, and use of certain controlled substances and other information related to hiring decisions. The Background Checks process is intended to help the University evaluate whether a candidate is suitable for the position for which he/she is being considered.

DEFINITION(S)

 

External Final Candidate

An individual  who is selected for hire as an  employee or to serve as a volunteer and who, at the time of their selection  (a) is not employed or serving as a volunteer at the University and (b) has not been employed, nor has served as a volunteer, at the University within the previous twelve months; provided, however, that a student whose previous employment with the University ended more than twelve months prior to the offer is not an External Final Candidate if the student served the University on a fellowship during that twelve-month period.

Volunteer

A person who is providing services to the University without promise or reasonable expectation of, or right to receive, compensation from the University and who would otherwise be classified as an employee under APPM 2.5

Staffing Agency Worker

An individual employed by a third-party staffing agency providing services to the University under a contract between the University and the agency.                                                       

Child Program Worker

An individual engaged in activities in a University building involving contact with minors pursuant to an independent contractor arrangement with the University.

Adverse Action Letter

A letter or other written communication notifying an individual that an adverse action has been taken against him or her as a result of information provided in a Background Check report and that conforms to Section 615(a) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. 1681m(a).

Pre-Adverse Action Letter

A letter or other written communication notifying an individual that an adverse action may be taken against him or her due to information contained in a Background Check report and informing the individual of an opportunity to provide supplemental information regarding the Background Check results.

SSN Trace

Matching a person’s Social Security Number to his or her name.

Credit History Check

Accessing information about the activity on a person’s financial accounts, as reported by credit bureaus.

Criminal Records Check

Accessing information about a person’s felony convictions.

Educational and Licensing Check

Verifying a person’s educational degrees, professional licenses and certifications.

Motor Vehicle (Driving) Record Check

Accessing information about a person’s driver license and driving record.

Employment History Verification  

Verifying dates, position, and salary of a person’s previous employment.

Drug Screen

A test for the presence of certain specified illegal substances in a specimen taken from the person.

National Sex Offender Registry Check

A search of a public database that includes information about convicted sex offenders.

 

REQUIRED BACKGROUND CHECKS

  1. External final candidates for all positions shall receive the following  background checks:
    1. SSN Trace
    2. Criminal Records Check
    3. National Sex Offender Registry Check
    4. Employment History Verification

  2. External final candidates for positions that require a degree and/or professional license shall receive the following additional background check:
    1. Educational and Licensing Check

  3. External final candidates for positions that require a driver’s license and/or satisfactory driving record shall receive the following background check:
    1. Motor Vehicle (Driving) Record Check

  4. External final candidates for positions that require the handling of cash or have significant budgetary or financial responsibilities require the following additional check:
    1. Credit History Check

  5. The background check indicated below is required for External Final Candidates for the following positions – (1) full time Residence Life staff who live in student housing, (2) positions that require the routine operation of university-owned vehicles or heavy equipment, and (3) positions that allow access to and use of firearms:
 
  1. Drug Screen
 
  1. All Staffing Agency Workers shall undergo the background check required under subsection A above and, if applicable, background checks described in subsections B, C, D and/or E and G, before providing services to the University.  Unless otherwise agreed, the cost of the background check shall be borne exclusively by the third party staffing vendor.

  2. All Child Program Workers shall undergo the background check described in subsection A above or, if applicable, background checks described in subsections B, C, D and/or E, before conducting activities on university property.  Unless otherwise agreed, the cost of the background check shall be borne exclusively by the individual or the organization sponsoring the activity.
      J.    Nothing in this Policy shall prevent the University from conducting any background check that is required by law or
            contract.

PROCEDURES

Obtaining a Background Check

A background check on an External Final Candidate, Staffing Agency Worker and Child Program Worker shall be obtained according to the following procedures.

External Final Candidate    

  1. All offers of employment or a volunteer position to an External Final Candidate are to be made contingent on a background check with satisfactory results.  All such offers must include a statement as follows: “This offer is contingent upon the completion of a satisfactory background check that is required by University policy for this position, including, but not limited to, a criminal background check. If the University determines that your background check results are unsatisfactory, this offer shall be revoked.”

  2. After an External Final Candidate has been given a contingent offer, the required background check shall be completed on the individual.  All background checks shall be performed by an independent third-party background checks vendor (“Background Checks Vendor”).  To begin the background check process, the External Final Candidate must complete the Background Check Disclosure, Authorization, and Release forms (“Background Checks Forms”), which authorize the University to conduct pre-employment screening through an independent Background Checks Vendor.  The hiring manager shall provide the External Final Candidate with the Background Checks Forms for completion and submission to the Background Checks Vendor, utilizing the form on the vendor’s website or the form in paper format.  If the individual completes the Background Check Disclosure in paper format, this document should be uploaded to the Background Checks Vendor’s website. Failure to properly complete and submit the Background Checks Forms will preclude an External Final Candidate from consideration for the position unless such deficiency is promptly corrected.

  3. The Background Checks Vendor shall report results of the Background Check to Human Resources.  Human Resources shall assess the results to determine if the External Final Candidate is eligible for the position under the eligibility criteria established in this Policy.

  4. If Human Resources determines that any background check result renders the External Final Candidate ineligible, it shall send the External Final Candidate a Pre-Adverse Action Letter, along with a copy of the background check results and the Summary of Your Rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.  The Pre-Adverse Action letter shall inform the External Final Candidate that the results of the Background Check may disqualify her/him from consideration for the position and that she/he has seven (7) calendar days from the date of the Pre-Adverse Action letter to submit supplementary documentation correcting or explaining the results.  If the supplementary documentation satisfactorily corrects or explains the results, the External Final Candidate shall remain eligible for the position.  If the External Final Candidate does not submit supplementary information within the required period, or timely submitted information does not satisfactorily correct or explain the Background Check result, the External Final Candidate shall not be eligible for the position.  Human Resources shall communicate a determination of ineligibility to the hiring unit and, if the External Final Candidate was offered a faculty, academic administrator or academic staff position, to the Office of the Associate Vice President and Associate Provost for Academic Personnel.  The hiring unit will withdraw the contingent offer, and an Adverse Action letter shall be sent to the External Final Candidate.  The procedure described in this paragraph shall be referred to as the “Adverse Action Procedure”.
          If, after assessing all of the Background Checks results and/or any supplemental documentation obtained during the
         Adverse Action Procedure, Human Resources determines that the individual is eligible for the position, it shall inform
         the unit to proceed with the hiring process.   

Staffing Agency Worker

The required background check for a Staffing Agency Worker shall be arranged by the third-party staffing vendor providing the individual.  Unless otherwise agreed, the cost of the background check shall be borne exclusively by the third party staffing vendor.  The University shall require the third-party staffing vendor to report to Human Resources any Negative Background Check Results.  A “Negative Background Check Result” is a Criminal Event, as that term is defined below, or any information that renders the Staffing Agency Worker ineligible for the position, according to this Policy.  Human Resources shall assess Negative Background Check Results for a Staffing Agency Worker using the eligibility criteria provided in this Policy for External Final Candidates.  Human Resources shall convey its eligibility determination in writing to the third-party staffing vendor.

Child Program Worker

If the Child Program Worker is acting as a representative of an organization, the required Background Checks shall be arranged by the organization providing the individual.  Unless otherwise agreed, the cost of the Background Check shall be borne exclusively by the organization.  The University shall require the organization to report to Human Resources and the University unit arranging for the program any Negative Background Check Result.  Human Resources shall assess those results using the eligibility criteria provided in this Policy for External Final Candidates.  Human Resources shall convey its eligibility determination in writing to the organization.  Nothing stated in this paragraph shall prohibit the University unit from taking action to expedite background check procedures stated above.

If the Child Program Worker is not acting as a representative of an organization, the procedure applicable to an External Final Candidate for obtaining a background check and assessing background check results shall be followed.

Temporary Employee

An External Final Candidate who is offered a position as a Temporary Employee, as defined in APPM Section 3.2.3., may begin employment before the Background Checks results are completed and assessed as long as such individual (“Temporary Employee”) has completed and submitted the Background Checks Forms before beginning employment.  Any offer of employment given to a Temporary Employee must state as follows:  “This offer is contingent upon the completion of a satisfactory background check that is required by University policy for this position, including, but not limited to, a criminal background check. If the University determines that your background check results are unsatisfactory, this offer shall be revoked or, if your employment has already commenced, your employment will be immediately terminated.”

If Human Resources determines that the Background Checks results disqualify the Temporary Employee from the position, Human Resources shall follow the Adverse Action Procedure, making a final eligibility determination using the supplemental information provided by the Temporary Employee, if any.  Human Resources shall communicate its eligibility determination to the hiring unit.  If the Temporary Employee is eligible for the position, his or her employment may continue.  If the Temporary Employee is ineligible, the hiring unit shall immediately terminate the Temporary Employee’s employment.

Assessing Background Check Results for External Final Candidates

All assessments of background check results for External Final Candidates shall be performed by Human Resources.  The purpose of the assessment is to determine if any background check result renders the External Final Candidate ineligible to hold the position for which he/she was selected.  The criteria for determining eligibility are set forth below:

Assessment of SSN Trace

Information received from the SSN Trace verifies the identity of the External Final Candidate by matching his or her Social Security Number with his or her name.  If the SSN Trace confirms the individual’s identity, the individual remains eligible pending assessment of the remaining background check results.  If the information obtained fails to confirm the identity of the External Final Candidate, the individual is preliminarily ineligible. Human Resources shall follow the Adverse Action Procedure, making a final eligibility determination for this Background Check result using the supplemental information provided by the External Final Candidate, if any.

Assessment of Criminal History

The assessment of an External Final Candidate’s criminal history is based on results obtained from the Criminal Records Check and the National Sex Offender Registry Check.   The criminal history assessment may consider only convictions for a felony or the conduct underlying an arrest for a felony in an open case (when felony charges arising out of the conduct have been filed), but not finally resolved.  Such felony conviction or conduct shall be referred to as a “Criminal Event”.  The University shall not consider convictions for misdemeanors nor arrests for felonies in closed cases (cases either not resulting in the filing of felony charges or not resulting in a felony conviction) or any misdemeanor arrests, whether in a closed or open case.  The foregoing restrictions shall not apply to the assessment of the criminal history of an External Final Candidate for the position of police officer except that an arrest (as opposed to the conduct underlying the arrest) shall not be considered.  Such assessment shall comply with all other aspects of this Policy and, in applying this Policy, any information derived from that individual’s criminal history shall be treated as a “Criminal Event”.

If the Criminal Records Check and the National Sex Offender Registry Check indicate no Criminal Events, the External Final Candidate shall remain eligible for the position, and Human Resources shall proceed to assess the results of any other background checks required for the position.  If a Criminal Event appears on the Criminal Records Check, such information shall be assessed as provided below.

The existence of a Criminal Event in an External Final Candidate’s criminal history does not necessarily render the External Final Candidate ineligible for the position.  An External Final Candidate may be determined to be ineligible for the position due to a Criminal Event only if the exclusion is based on reasons related to the safe and efficient performance of the duties of the position and is consistent with business necessity.

That standard shall be applied by considering all of the following factors:

  • The nature and gravity of the offense or conduct
  • The time that has passed since the offense, conduct and/or completion of the sentence. In considering this factor, the following will be evaluated:
    • Age at time of conviction
    • Evidence that the  individual performed the same type of work for which he or she is being considered, post-conviction, with the same or a different employer, with no known subsequent incidents of criminal conduct;
    • The length and consistency of employment history before and after the offense or conduct;
  • The nature of the position for which the External Final Candidate was selected.

In applying these factors to conduct underlying an arrest for a felony in an open case, only the conduct may be considered; the fact of an arrest is not to be considered in the assessment.

If the Criminal Records Check or National Sex Offender Registry reveals a Criminal Event, Human Resources shall consult with the Office of the General Counsel and, if the External Final Candidate was offered a faculty, academic administrator or academic staff position, the Office of the Associate Vice President and Associate Provost for Academic Personnel, before making a preliminary determination regarding the External Final Candidate’s eligibility for the position.  If, after such consultation, Human Resources determines that the External Final Candidate remains eligible, it shall proceed to assess the results of any other background checks required for the position.

If, however, Human Resources determines that the External Final Candidate is ineligible, a Pre-Adverse Action letter will be sent to the individual as provided in the Adverse Action Procedure.  If the External Final Candidate responds to the letter with supplemental documentation, all such documentation will be considered.  Especially significant is documentation that is relevant to the following:

  • The facts or circumstances surrounding the offense or conduct;
  • Rehabilitation efforts such as education/training;
  • Employment or character references and any other information regarding fitness for the particular position;
  • Whether the individual is bonded under a federal, state, or local bonding program.

Under special circumstances, Human Resources may extend the Adverse Action Procedure’s seven-day period for submission of supplementary documentation.

If the individual submits supplementary documentation, Human Resources shall, in consultation with the Office of the General Counsel and, if the External Final Candidate was offered a faculty, academic administrator or academic staff position, with the Office of the Associate Vice President and Associate Provost for Academic Personnel, reconsider its preliminary determination in light of the supplementary documentation and shall then finally determine whether the External Final Candidate is eligible for the position.

If it is finally determined that the External Final Candidate remains eligible for the position, Human Resources shall proceed to assess the results of any other background checks required for the position.

If it is finally determined that the External Final Candidate is ineligible for the position, Human Resources will notify the hiring manager.  The contingent offer will be withdrawn and an Adverse Action letter shall be sent to the External Final Candidate.

Human Resources will not disclose to the hiring manager any information revealed by the Criminal Records Check or the National Sex Offender Registry Check.  Such information shall be kept confidential as provided in this policy.

Assessment of Credit History

The Credit History check results are evaluated to determine the level of risk that an External Final Candidate for a position requiring the handling of cash or significant budgetary or financial responsibilities will fail to competently and responsibly perform those duties.  If the results reveal no risk or an acceptable risk, the External Final Candidate remains eligible for the position.  If the results reveal an unacceptable risk, Human Resources shall follow the Adverse Action Procedure and then make a final eligibility determination for this Background Check result, making a final eligibility determination for this Background Check result using the supplemental information provided by the External Final Candidate, if any.

Assessment of Education and Licensing

The Education and License check is used to (1) verify that a degree, professional license and/or certification were issued to the External Final Candidate and (2) confirm the granting institution.

If the Education and Licensing Check verifies that the External Final Candidate possesses the required degree, professional license and/or certification and confirms the granting institution, the External Final Candidate shall remain eligible for the position.  Otherwise, the individual shall be preliminarily ineligible. Human Resources shall follow the Adverse Action Procedure and then make a final eligibility determination for this Background Check result using the supplemental information provided by the External Final Candidate, if any.

If the External Final Candidate was offered a faculty, academic administrator or academic staff position, Human Resources shall consult with the Office of the Associate Vice President and Associate Provost for Academic Personnel before making a preliminary or final determination of ineligibility.

Assessment of Motor Vehicle (Driving) Records

The Motor Vehicle (Driving) Records check is used to verify that (1) the External Final Candidate possesses a current and valid driver’s license and (2) where required, the External Final Candidate has a satisfactory driving record.

If the Motor Vehicle (Driving) Records Check verifies that the External Final Candidate possesses a current and valid driver’s license, the External Final Candidate shall remain eligible for the position.  Otherwise, the individual shall be preliminarily ineligible.  Human Resources shall follow the Adverse Action Procedure, making a final eligibility determination for this Background Check result, using the supplemental information provided by the External Final Candidate, if any.

For positions that require a satisfactory driving record, past driving records for the required time period as specified by university policy or appropriate collective bargaining agreement will be reviewed to determine if the External Final Candidate has a satisfactory driving record.  Satisfactory driving record requirements will be determined by the applicable collective bargaining agreement, Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual (APPM) or Personnel Manual for Non-Represented Employees.

If the Motor Vehicle (Driving) Records Check verifies that the External Final Candidate possesses the required driver’s license and satisfactory driving record, the individual remains eligible for the position pending assessment of the remaining Background Check results.  Otherwise, the individual is ineligible for the position, and Human Resources shall follow the Adverse Action Procedure, making a final eligibility determination for this Background Check result using the supplemental information provided by the External Final Candidate, if any.

Assessment of Employment Verification 

The Employment Verification is used to confirm that the External Final Candidate has accurately represented his or her past employers, dates of employment, position held, and salary earned.  This verification is required for no more than the last two places of employment.

If the Employment Verification Check confirms that the External Final Candidate did work for the two previous employers stated on the application and/or resume, the individual remains eligible pending assessment of the remaining Background Check results.  Otherwise, the individual is preliminarily ineligible for the position. Human Resources shall follow the Adverse Action Procedure, making a final eligibility determination for this Background Check result using the supplemental information provided by the External Final Candidate, if any.

If the External Final Candidate was offered a faculty, academic administrator or academic staff position, Human Resources shall consult with the Office of the Associate Vice President and Associate Provost for Academic Personnel before making a preliminary or final determination of ineligibility.

Assessment of Drug Screen

External Final Candidates for positions that require the routine operation of motor vehicles or heavy equipment or allow access to and use of firearms are required to undergo a drug screen.  The University shall require only a five-panel drug screen, that is, a test that identifies the presence of marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines, and phencyclidine in a sample taken from the External Final Candidate.

The External Final Candidate who requires a drug screen shall be notified that he or she is to appear at a collection site within three (3) calendar days from receipt of notification.  Any External Final Candidate who refuses, or fails without an adequate excuse, to appear at the collection site within that time frame shall be ineligible for the position.

The results of a Drug Screen shall be considered positive if they show the presence of cocaine, opiates amphetamines, phencyclidine or marijuana (other than medical marijuana).  Otherwise, the Drug Screen results shall be considered negative.  If the Drug Screen results are negative, the External Final Candidate shall continue to be eligible for the position pending assessment of the remaining Background Check results.  If, however, the Drug Screen results are positive, the individual is preliminarily ineligible for the position, and Human Resources shall follow the Adverse Action Procedure.  If the supplemental documentation obtained during the Adverse Action Procedure corrects the Drug Screen result from a positive to a negative, the individual shall remain eligible for the position pending assessment of the remaining background check results.  Otherwise, the individual shall be ineligible for the position.

Human Resources shall not communicate to the hiring manager any information revealed by the Drug Screen. Such information shall be kept confidential as provided in this policy.

Disclosure of Criminal Convictions during the Interview Process

  1. Any information related to the External Final Candidate’s criminal history that is revealed during an interview may not be used by the hiring unit as the sole reason for withholding an offer of employment.  The determination of whether a Criminal Event affects an External Final Candidate’s eligibility for a position rests with Human Resources.

  2.  Hiring managers must communicate to Human Resources any negative information provided by External Final Candidate that is the same type of information that is disclosed in a background check.

Confidentiality

Background Check results may only be disclosed to employees within Human Resources, the Office of the Associate Vice President and Associate Provost for Academic Personnel and the Office of General Counsel who have a need to know the information, except when otherwise required by law. Notwithstanding the foregoing, background check results may be disclosed to other University personnel to the extent, and only to the extent, necessary to accurately assess the result.  Such personnel shall not disclose the background check results disclosed to them, and shall hold them in the strictest confidence.  In the case of an academic position, the person to whom the results may be disclosed shall be determined by the Associate Vice President and Associate Provost for Academic Personnel.  In the case of a nonacademic position, the person to whom the information may be disclosed shall be determined by the Associate Vice President of Human Resources or his or her designee.

 

Retaining Background Check Records

  1. For External Final Candidates who are hired, and for Staffing Agency Workers or Child Program Workers whose services are retained, the individual’s Background Check Disclosure, Authorization, Release form and Background Check results (collectively, “Background Check Records”) shall be retained by Human Resources in a secured location for the length of employment, or service, plus three years thereafter.  The Background Check Records shall be maintained in a location that is separate from the individual’s personnel file.  During the retention period, only employees within Human Resources, the Office of the Associate Vice President and Associate Provost for Academic Personnel, and the Office of the General Counsel who have a need to know the information contained in the Background Check Records shall have access to that information.

  2. For External Final Candidates who are not hired, and for Staffing Agency Workers or Child Program Workers whose services are not retained, due to the information revealed in the Background Check results, the individual’s failure to comply with the procedures established in this Policy, the individual’s own decision, or for any other reason, the individual’s Background Check Records shall be retained by Human Resources in a file separate from other documents generated by the selection process for three years from the date that Human Resources received the Background Check results.   During the retention period, only employees within Human Resources and the Office of the General Counsel who have a need to know the information contained in the Background Check Records shall have access to that information.

  3. Upon the expiration of the retention periods stated above, Human Resources shall arrange for the disposal of all Background Check Records, whether in paper, electronic or other form, and any information derived from them.  In connection with such disposal, the University shall take reasonable measures to protect against unauthorized access to or use of the information.

PROCEDURES

RESPONSIBILITY

ACTION

HUMAN RESOURCES

  1. Obtain a signed Background Check Disclosure, Authorization, and Release form from the External Final Candidate to conduct the requisite Background Check.

HUMAN RESOURCES

  1. Request the required Background Checks from the Background Check Vendor.

BACKGROUND CHECK VENDOR

  1. Conduct the required Background Checks for each candidate and forward the results to Human Resources.

HUMAN RESOURCES

  1. Assess Background Check results.

HUMAN RESOURCES

  1. Advise Hiring Unit of Background Check results and whether the External Final Candidate is approved for hire.

 

 

OFFICE RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS POLICY

Human Resources

 

EFFECTIVE DATE

The effective date for full implementation of this policy is 7/31/13.