Staff Background Checks UPPS No. 04.04.17
Issue No. 3
Effective Date: 07/27/2012
Review: June 1 E3Y
01. POLICY STATEMENTS
01.01 This UPPS establishes the university’s policy and procedures for conducting and obtaining staff criminal history, driving history, and other background checks for security-sensitive positions.
01.02 Any employment relationship between the university and an individual is contingent upon the individual passing any background check required for the relationship.
01.03 The university will use information obtained in background checks only for evaluating:
a. Individuals seeking university employment; and
b. current employees under certain employment circumstances.
01.04 The university will conduct background checks itself or through a third party approved by the president. The university and its third-party agent will conduct all checks in accordance with law and this policy. The department requesting a check will pay for the check.
01.05 The university considers all information obtained through a background check privileged, confidential, and restricted to authorized persons only, and is not to be used in any way prohibited by law. No information obtained in a background check is to be communicated to anyone except as authorized by the vice president for Finance and Support Services or as limited by state or federal law.
01.06 The university will conduct criminal background checks for:
a. Applicants selected to fill positions;
b. current employees selected to transfer or to be promoted; and
c. current employees whose position is reclassified, if a background check was not completed within the past 90 days.
01.07 The director of Facilities Management will conduct driving history checks on behalf of the university on persons whose duties may require that they operate a university vehicle as provided in UPPS No. 05.05.02, Driver Selection.
01.08 The director of University Police establishes procedures for conducting criminal history background checks for all University Police Department positions.
01.09 Other background checks, such as credit, credential, education, employer reference, workers’ compensation, motor vehicle, and global watch list checks, may be conducted and obtained if deemed appropriate and approved by the division vice president.
01.10 The director of Human Resources, unless otherwise provided by the president, will conduct or secure through a third-party agent approved by the president, all background checks for the university except for university police positions and those positions that require a drivers license (refer to Section 01.07).
01.11 Postings for staff employment will include a notification of the background check requirement per the authority granted in the State of Texas Education Code, Section 51.215 and Government Code, Section 411.1405.
01.12 Hiring managers should contact Human Resources for guidance on addressing applicants who self-identify a criminal history on the employment application. Human Resources will review the applicant’s self-identified criminal history on the employment application against the Eligibility Parameters Table to determine if the applicant is eligible for employment. If found not eligible for employment, the applicant will be excluded from the applicant pool.
01.13 This policy does not apply to faculty or contractors. This policy does apply to volunteers, only if requested by the department head.
02.01 Security-Sensitive – For the purposes of this policy, all staff and certain student worker positions are considered security-sensitive.
02.02 Eligibility Parameters Table – Identifies employment eligibility based on past criminal offenses.
03. PROCEDURES FOR CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS
03.01 Applicants selected to fill a regular position:
a. The hiring official will request a criminal background check and provide a Background Inquiry Release form signed by the applicant on whom the check is being conducted to the director of Human Resources. The director of Human Resources must receive the signed Background Inquiry Release form. Failure to sign the authorization form renders the individual ineligible for the position under consideration.
b. The director of Human Resources will conduct a criminal background check after receiving the Background Inquiry Release form. The director will screen the results against the eligibility criteria shown in the Eligibility Parameters Table and notify the hiring official if the individual has passed.
1) If the background check does not meet the eligibility criteria in the Eligibility Parameters Table, Human Resources will re-run the check at its own expense to verify the findings of the first check. If the findings of the first check are verified as correct, Human Resources will notify the hiring official to determine if the hiring official would like to (a) move forward with the selection of an alternate applicant or (b) allow the disqualified applicant a minimum of seven working days to dispute the background check finding with the approved third-party vendor.
2) If the hiring official would like to move forward with an alternate selection, Human Resources will send a denial of employment letter to the applicant that instructs the applicant to contact the approved third-party vendor for further information on the findings of the check in accordance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The letter will further inform the applicant that Human Resources will not provide or discuss the information obtained in the background check.
3) If the hiring official chooses to allow the applicant the seven or more working days to dispute the background check findings with the approved third-party vendor, Human Resources will send a pre-denial of employment letter to the applicant. The letter will explain the dispute process and instruct the applicant to contact the third-party vendor for further information regarding the check’s findings in accordance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The seven working day time period begins on the date Human Resources mails the letter.
4) The position for which the applicant was applying will remain unfilled until (a) notification is received from the approved third- party vendor that the disqualifying information for the individual has been expunged or (b) the hiring official wants to move forward with an alternate selection. The hiring official may choose an alternate selection under this option at any time after the minimum seven-working-day period has elapsed.
c. The information obtained in the background check will not be communicated to the individual on whom the check was done. Such information can only be obtained by the individual from the third-party vendor conducting the check for the university. Inquiries to Human Resources from the individual will be referred to the approved third-party vendor without discussion.
03.02 Applicants selected to fill non-student non-regular (NSNR) and certain student worker positions and volunteers:
a. All NSNR employees must undergo a criminal history background check. Additionally, student workers and volunteers must also undergo a criminal history background check when requested by the department head.
b. Human Resources will run the background check at its own expense through the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). Since Texas State is running the check through a state agency, a background check release from the individual is not required.
c. The background check process for NSNR and student worker employees will be the same as described in Section 03.01 b., except that finding disputes will be handled through the Texas Department of Public Safety. All findings are confidential except for authorized DPS users.
d. The appeal process in Section 03.01 b. does not apply to volunteers.
03.03 Current employees selected for transfer or promotion to a position in another division:
a. Except as may be provided in this subsection, the requirements in Section 03.01 apply.
b. The department head of the department for which the employee has been selected to fill a position will request a criminal history background check and provide a release form signed by the employee to the director, Human Resources. The employee must pass the background check before moving to the new position.
c. Failing the background check disqualifies the employee for the new position. Human Resources will notify the employee’s current division vice president and provide a copy of the background check. The vice president will determine if any action is necessary regarding the employee’s employment status. The Human Resources director must receive the vice president’s decision within five business days of notification. If the hiring manager identified an alternate candidate during the selection process and that alternate candidate passes the background check, the hiring manager may extend an employment offer to that candidate.
03.04 Current employees selected for promotion, reclassification, transfer, or to fill a position within their current division and a criminal history check was not completed within the past 90 days:
a. Except as this subsection provides, the requirements of Section 03.01 apply.
b. The department head of the department into which the employee is being promoted, reclassified, transferred or selected to fill a position will request the criminal background check and provide a release form signed by the employee to the director, Human Resources before the action takes place. The director of Human Resources will conduct a criminal history background check as provided in Section 03.01.
c. If the employee fails the background check, Human Resources will notify the employee’s current vice president and provide a copy of the background check. The vice president will determine what action to take and submit the decision to the director, Human Resources within five working days of notification.
04. RELEVANCY OF NON-AUTOMATIC DISQUALIFICATION INFORMATION
04.01 For findings falling under the relevancy provisions of the Eligibility Parameters Table, Human Resources will notify the hiring official of findings and the hiring official will determine whether to consider the candidate. The hiring official should consider the severity of the offense, its relation to the position, and the amount of time that has passed since the offense.
05. PROCEDURES FOR BACKGROUND CHECKS OTHER THAN CRIMINAL HISTORY AND DRIVING HISTORY
05.01 The appropriate divisional vice president may authorize other background checks such as employment and education verification, credit history, personal identification, and license and certification verification.
Human Resources will conduct the background checks this subsection authorizes in the same manner as provided in Section 03.
The employee’s current vice president, with input from the department head with the open position, will determine how to use the background check’s results and whether the individual may use the appeal process in Section 03.01.
06. CRIMINAL RECORDS
06.01 Knowledge of an arrest, conviction or deferred adjudication in and of itself may not necessarily disqualify an individual from employment. However, the frequency, severity or relevancy of such activity could disqualify the individual. The appropriate divisional vice president must approve disqualification based on a criminal history.
07. REVIEWERS OF THIS UPPS
07.01 Reviewers of this UPPS include the following:
Director, Human Resources June 1 E3Y
Chief Diversity Officer and Director, June 1 E3Y
Equity & Access
Chair, Staff Council June 1 E3Y
TSUS Office of the General Counsel June 1 E3Y
08. CERTIFICATION STATEMENT
This UPPS has been reviewed by the following individuals in their official capacities and represents Texas State policy and procedure from the date of this document until superseded.
Director, Human Resources; senior reviewer of the UPPS
Vice President for Finance and Support Services