Pre-Employment Background Check Procedures

Pre-Employment Background Check Procedures
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SCOPE

The Background Check procedure applies to hires made where background checks were specified in postings, beginning in the fall of 2013, and thereafter.

PROCEDURE STATEMENT

Structuring a safe environment in which learning can take place is a fundamental responsibility of all University faculty and staff.  One way for us to enhance security moving forward is to conduct background checks on most staff, faculty and select student employees (as described below) hired when background checks were specified in postings, beginning in the fall of 2013, and thereafter.  Therefore, St. Lawrence is instituting a background check procedure to assist in our ongoing effort to provide a safe environment for our students, employees, volunteers, and visitors; make sound hiring decisions; and detect falsified applicant information.  Human Resources will administer the conducting of background checks on new employees.  

Commencement of regular employment will be contingent upon the results of the background check process.  The finalist in the hiring process for regular faculty or staff positions (and select student and temporary positions) as well as regular volunteers will be subject to background checks.  The applicant will be provided consent forms following a job offer and before employment can start and candidates must give the University permission to conduct background investigations as deemed necessary based on the position for which the candidate has applied.  Applicants who do not consent to a background check, or do not complete the required steps for a check to be conducted, will not be considered for employment.

Post-job offer, pre-employment/pre-placement background checks will be required for the following “covered employees”:

• Prospective employees (“finalist” applicant) for all regular new hires
• St. Lawrence employees moving from temporary to a regular employment status; or being renewed in their temporary position
• Non-SLU Student Interns
• Regular Volunteers as presented to Human Resources
• Select temporary employees (working in residence halls or with access to residence halls or employment with responsibility for children ie; camp chipmunk, summer camps)

Any job offer made to these applicants will be contingent on the satisfactory results of the background check. 

PROCESS

Applicants in covered positions will be advised that a background check including criminal conviction investigation is a condition of employment.  Background check procedures will be applied when a search has determined a finalist to whom an offer of employment is ready to be made.  The University will engage a professional firm to complete the Background Check process to assure third-party confidentiality with the exception of Security and Safety Officers.

The finalist, or individual recommended for hire, will be required to complete an authorization and the University’s authorized vendor will conduct the background check.  Oral and written offers will include a statement that the employment offer is pending the satisfactory completion of the background check for positions covered by this procedure.

Background investigations may include one or more of the following screenings:

Motor Vehicle Records Search    
Education & Professional Credentials Verification 
Social Security Number Trace    
National Sex Offender Search   
Criminal Felony & Misdemeanor Search
Federal Criminal Record Search
Employment Reference Check
Credit History Report

CONFIDENTIALITY
Background check records will be received and maintained as part of a confidential file in Human Resources.  Applicant information is confidential, personal information, and all parties having access to this information will treat it as confidential.   Criminal history and other background records that are obtained by the University for the purpose of conducting background checks shall be used only as permitted by law. 

RESPONSIBILITY
Human Resources will monitor the hiring decisions made in such cases, for consistency.
Human Resources will coordinate the receipt and payment of HireRight's fees through the Recruitment Budget.

PROCEDURE
All employees hired into covered positions shall have a post-offer background check, including criminal check, completed as a condition of employment with St. Lawrence University. The hire is contingent upon the results of the background check.  Ads, postings, notices or the application for employment will contain the information that a background check may be required.

(1) Any oral offer and written letter generated will be contingent on successful background check.  When a finalist is selected, the hiring supervisor will notify the candidate of the following:
• The job offer is contingent on the satisfactory results of a background check and a start date will be set when the pre-employment screening is complete and cleared.

• Human Resources will provide the finalist with information about the University’s vendor’s disclosure and authorization forms and contact information by email which the finalist must review, complete and timely submit on-line to initiate the background check.

It will be helpful if the hiring manager can encourage the finalist to submit and complete the background check authorization forms promptly and notify Human Resources directly if the candidate does not receive the information to start the background check process, or if the candidate is unable to complete the on-line authorization for any reason.

If the finalist does not have an email address, the hiring supervisor can direct them to contact the Human Resources office at 315-229-5596 to schedule a time to review and complete the form on-line in Human Resources.

(2) All written offers of employment shall include the following statement:  "This offer is contingent upon timely completion of the University's verification of credentials and other information included in the employment application materials, or required by state law and St. Lawrence University policies and procedures, including the completion of a criminal history check." 

(3) The Office of Security and Safety will perform Motor Vehicle Records Checks for officer positions and those University positions that require driving.

(4) The University’s Vendor conducts the background check(s) in conformity with the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the state and federal anti-discrimination and privacy laws.  The Vendor sends the reports to Director of Human Resources for Employee & Labor Relations (DHR).

If an applicant possesses an active security clearance issued by the US Federal Government, proof of that active security clearance will be considered in lieu of conducting a new criminal background check.

(5) The DHR will review the results of the background investigations in relation to the position under consideration.  A conviction for a felony or misdemeanor, by itself, may not disqualify a candidate from employment.  All known information regarding the candidate will be considered. 

Unless the DHR decides the information received in the background check presents no employability issue, the DHR will:

a) send the background check report to a designated Review Committee (with appointments from Security, Risk Management/Compliance, DHR, and the VP/Division Head)

b) as considered appropriate, legal counsel will be consulted to determine whether a candidate is required to be rejected or should be disqualified from employment due to legal requirements or other considerations.

c) except where employment is expressly prohibited by law, the University will review each individual’s background report(s) and consider factors such as, but not limited to, the nature and age of the crime(s) or offense(s) reported, the position sought and duties, rehabilitation, the candidate’s veracity in providing application information, the candidate’s employment history,  references, and other factors required by law.  Attached as an appendix to these procedures is the NY Corrections Law Article 23-A  referencing factors and considerations required for those with criminal convictions.

Any identified unexplained misrepresentation, falsification, or material omission of information from the employment application/resume discovered during the selection process or after hire, may exclude the candidate from consideration for the position or result in withdrawal of the conditional offer of employment or termination of employment.

(6) Human Resources will notify the hiring manager when the applicant is cleared for hire. 

If the Review Committee decides that the issue of concern is sufficient grounds to deny employment, the candidate will be provided with a copy of the report and a notice summarizing the individual’s rights under the FCRA.  The candidate will be given information about vendor with detailed instructions on how to request a reinvestigation as he/she is legally entitled under the FCRA.  Human Resources will track adverse action letters.

The applicant can request a reinvestigation within five (5) business day following the date of the notification from vendor. If that occurs, vendor will notify Human Resources, or designee, immediately and SLU will place the applicant’s file on hold until vendor has completed its reinvestigation.  Vendor will send a written report to SLU and the applicant of the results of the reinvestigation within no more than thirty (30) days from receiving notice of the applicant’s request or reinvestigation. 

If the applicant does not respond to the above notification (i.e. requesting a reinvestigation) within five (5) business days following the date of the notice sent by vendor, and following verification to vendor from the SLU Review Committee, vendor will then issue an adverse action letter on the sixth (6th) day in addition to another copy of the applicant’s report as well as the summary of his/her rights under the FCRA.

If a reinvestigation has been requested, vendor will send the report to HR and the Review Committee. The Review Committee will examine the reinvestigation report and HR will notify the divisional Vice President or Director of the decision.  If the background report has led to a disqualified decision, vendor will be notified: vendor will notify the candidate with a final Adverse Action Letter.

The decision of the DHR/Review Committee is binding on the search committee / hiring department or office/VP.

Violations of University policies, including providing false or misleading information used for any of the above background checks, will be handled in accordance with applicable University policies and procedures, which may include disciplinary action up to and including termination from the University.

Interpretation and Application

• This procedure will be interpreted and applied in a manner consistent with all applicable federal, state and local laws.
• The University reserves the right to perform background checks for other positions or in individual circumstances whenever it is deemed appropriate to protect the interest of the University.
• The University reserves the right to modify this procedure in whole or in part at any time with or without notice.

EFFECTIVE DATE AND APPROVAL

This procedure is effective February 17, 2014.

Appendix A
NEW YORK CORRECTION LAW
ARTICLE 23-A
LICENSURE AND EMPLOYMENT OF PERSONS PREVIOUSLY
CONVICTED OF ONE OR MORE CRIMINAL OFFENSES

Section 750. Definitions.
751. Applicability.
752. Unfair discrimination against persons previously convicted of one
or more criminal offenses prohibited.
753. Factors to be considered concerning a previous criminal
conviction; presumption.
754. Written statement upon denial of license or employment.
755. Enforcement.
§750. Definitions. For the purposes of this article, the following
terms shall have the following meanings:
(1) "Public agency" means the state or any local subdivision
thereof, or any state or local department, agency, board or commission.
(2) "Private employer" means any person, company, corporation,
labor organization or association which employs ten or more persons.
(3) "Direct relationship" means that the nature of criminal
conduct for which the person was convicted has a direct bearing on
his fitness or ability to perform one or more of the duties or
responsibilities necessarily related to the license, opportunity, or
job in question.
(4) "License" means any certificate, license, permit or grant
of permission required by the laws of this state, its political
subdivisions or instrumentalities as a condition for the lawful
practice of any occupation, employment, trade, vocation, business, or
profession. Provided, however, that "license" shall not, for the
purposes of this article, include any license or permit to own,
possess, carry, or fire any explosive, pistol, handgun, rifle, shotgun,
or other firearm.
(5) "Employment" means any occupation, vocation or employment, or
any form of vocational or educational training. Provided, however, that
"employment" shall not, for the purposes of this article, include
membership in any law enforcement agency.
§751. Applicability. The provisions of this article shall apply to
any application by any person for a license or employment at any public
or private employer, who has previously been convicted of one or
more criminal offenses in this state or in any other jurisdiction, and
to any license or employment held by any person whose conviction of one
or more criminal offenses in this state or in any other jurisdiction
preceded such employment or granting of a license, except where a
mandatory forfeiture, disability or bar to employment is imposed by
law, and has not been removed by an executive pardon, certificate of
relief from disabilities or certificate of good conduct. Nothing in
this article shall be construed to affect any right an employer may
have with respect to an intentional misrepresentation in connection
with an application for employment made by a prospective employee or
previously made by a current employee.
§752. Unfair discrimination against persons previously convicted of
one or more criminal offenses prohibited. No application for any
license or employment, and no employment or license held by an
individual, to which the provisions of this article are applicable,
shall be denied or acted upon adversely by reason of the
individual's having been previously convicted of one or more criminal
offenses, or by reason of a finding of lack of "good moral character"
when such finding is based upon the fact that the individual has
previously been convicted of one or more criminal offenses, unless:
(1) There is a direct relationship between one or more of the
previous criminal offenses and the specific license or employment
sought or held by the individual; or
(2) the issuance or continuation of the license or the granting or
continuation of the employment would involve an unreasonable risk to
property or to the safety or welfare of specific individuals or the
general public.
§753. Factors to be considered concerning a previous criminal
conviction; presumption. 1. In making a determination pursuant to
section seven hundred fifty-two of this chapter, the public agency or
private employer shall consider the following factors:
(a) The public policy of this state, as expressed in this act, to
encourage the licensure and employment of persons previously convicted
of one or more criminal offenses.
(b) The specific duties and responsibilities necessarily related to
the license or employment sought or held by the person.
(c) The bearing, if any, the criminal offense or offenses for which
the person was previously convicted will have on his fitness or ability
to perform one or more such duties or responsibilities.
(d) The time which has elapsed since the occurrence of the criminal
offense or offenses.
(e) The age of the person at the time of occurrence of the criminal
offense or offenses.
(f) The seriousness of the offense or offenses.
(g) Any information produced by the person, or produced on his
behalf, in regard to his rehabilitation and good conduct.
(h) The legitimate interest of the public agency or private
employer in protecting property, and the safety and welfare of specific
individuals or the general public.
2. In making a determination pursuant to section seven hundred
fifty-two of this chapter, the public agency or private employer shall
also give consideration to a certificate of relief from disabilities or
a certificate of good conduct issued to the applicant, which
certificate shall create a presumption of rehabilitation in regard to
the offense or offenses specified therein.
§754. Written statement upon denial of license or employment. At the
request of any person previously convicted of one or more criminal
offenses who has been denied a license or employment, a public agency
or private employer shall provide, within thirty days of a request, a
written statement setting forth the reasons for such denial.
§755. Enforcement. 1. In relation to actions by public agencies, the
provisions of this article shall be enforceable by a proceeding brought
pursuant to article seventy-eight of the civil practice law and rules.
2. In relation to actions by private employers, the provisions of
this article shall be enforceable by the division of human rights
pursuant to the powers and procedures set forth in article fifteen of
the executive law, and, concurrently, by the New York city commission
on human rights.