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Background Checks

Policy Number: HR-52
Effective Date: January 2004
Last Revision: June 2015
Responsible Officer: Executive Vice President, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer

PURPOSE

Drexel University strives to provide the safest possible environment for all in the University community, including Student Workers, Faculty, Professional Staff, Temporary Staff, Non-Employee Associates, Volunteers, and Finalist Candidates. This policy supports the University’s efforts to minimize institutional risk and assists hiring authorities in making sound hiring decisions.

 

APPLICABILITY

This policy applies to all Drexel University Faculty, Professional Staff Members, including those affiliated with a collective bargaining unit, Student Workers, Volunteers, Temporary Staff, Non-Employee Associates, and Finalist Candidates seeking employment with the University.

 

IMPLEMENTATION

Implementation of this policy is the responsibility of the Department of Human Resources.

 

ADMINISTRATIVE OVERSIGHT

The Executive Vice President, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer is the Drexel University Official responsible for the administration of this policy.

 

POLICY

The University will conduct background investigations on Faculty, Professional Staff Members, Student Workers, Volunteers, Temporary Staff, Non-Employee Associates, and Finalist Candidates to determine or verify background information. This is to ensure that individuals who serve the University are well qualified, have a strong potential to be productive and successful, and have accurately presented their background and qualifications in oral representations and in written materials including the Application for Employment Form and résumé.

The University complies with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which regulates the use of information gathered by consumer reporting agencies and which may determine an individual’s eligibility for employment, credit or insurance.  Results of the background investigation are kept confidential by Human Resources, but may be shared on a strict need-to-know basis.


The University reserves the right to decline an Applicant or Finalist Candidate or to discipline, revoke the privileges of and/or terminate any Faculty, Professional Staff Member, Student Worker, Volunteer, Temporary Staff Member, Non-Employee Associate or other person to whom this policy applies, who has provided false, misleading, erroneous, or deceptive information on an application, résumé, or during an interview or who has omitted material information during the hiring process.  The University reserves the right to share false, misleading, erroneous and deceptive information to probation officers and other appropriate authorities. Drexel University reserves the right to conduct a background investigation at any time as a matter of law or based on the nature of the position.

 

DEFINITIONS

Adjunct Faculty Member is defined as an individual employed by Drexel University to provide instruction on a part-time or non-continuing basis.

Applicant is defined as an individual seeking a job at Drexel University, including an existing Faculty or Professional Staff Member who is seeking to transfer positions within the University.

Direct Contact with a Minor is defined as the care, instruction, supervision, guidance or control of a Minor OR routine interaction with a Minor.  “Routine interaction” is determined largely on a case-by-case basis, but it will be determined based on what the Employee’s (or Volunteer’s) role is within the University and a determination of whether the person’s contact with the Minor is or will be regular, ongoing contact that is integral to the person’s day-to-day job responsibilities (or volunteer assignment and activities, in the case of a University Volunteer). 

Employee is defined as an individual employed by Drexel University, including a Faculty Member, Professional Staff Member, Student Worker, and Temporary Staff.

Faculty Member is defined as an individual employed by Drexel University in a tenured, tenure-track or non-tenured track position who teaches at any college, school, center or institute in the University.  A Faculty Member also is deemed to be exempt under the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and/or applicable state law.

Finalist Candidate is defined as an Applicant seeking a job at the University who has received a conditional offer of employment.

Founded Report is defined as a child abuse report made under the Child Protective Services Law (CPSL) if there has been any judicial adjudication based on a finding that a child who is a subject of the report has been abused, including the entry of a plea of guilty or ‘nolo contendere’ (no contest) or a finding of guilt to a criminal charge involving the same factual circumstances involved in the allegation of child abuse. 

Independent Contractor is defined as an individual who is not an Employee of the University who provides a Program, Activity or Service to the University and who has or will have Direct Contact with a Minor.

Indicated Report is defined as a child abuse report made under the CPSL if an investigation by the county agency or the PA Department of Human Services determines that the substantial evidence of the alleged abuse exists based on any of the following: available medical evidence, the child protective service investigation or an admission of the acts of abuse by the perpetrator. 

Minor (or Child) is defined as someone under the age of 18.  Minor and Child will be used interchangeably in this policy.

Non-Employee Associate is defined as an individual who is not a Faculty, Professional Staff Member or Student Worker of Drexel University (or otherwise employed by the University) and will not become an Employee of the University in the foreseeable future, and who requires access to the University’s resources in connection with services or work that the individual is doing at the University.  A Non-Employee Associate may be an employee of an Independent Contractor as defined in this policy.

Professional Staff Member is defined as an individual employed in any non-faculty category by Drexel University, including an individual who is deemed to be either exempt or non-exempt under the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and/or applicable state law.

Program, Activity or Service is defined as a public or private educational, athletic or other pursuit in which children (Minors) participate.  It includes, but is not limited to the following: (1) a youth camp or program; (2) a recreational camp or program; (3) a sports or athletic program; (4) an outreach or community service program; (5) an enrichment program; and (6) a camp, program or any activity involving a troop (e.g., Girl Scout or Boy Scout), club or similar organization. Protection of Minors and Reporting Child Abuse policy - Public Safety.

Student Worker is defined as a matriculated or non-matriculated individual at Drexel University working in any of the following employment categories: co-op, work-study, graduate assistant, graduate research fellow, teaching assistant and resident assistant.

Temporary Staff is defined as full or part-time co-op, casual and per diem Employees working no more than 1000 hours over a 12-month period.

Volunteer is defined as an unpaid individual representing or providing services to Drexel for community service, civic, charitable or humanitarian reasons, without promise, expectation or receipt of compensation for services rendered.  Volunteers subject to this policy also include unpaid individuals who are responsible for the welfare of a Minor or who have Direct Contact with a Minor as defined in this policy.

 

GUIDELINES

  1. Background investigations are required for all new hires (individuals who are not current Employees of Drexel) as a condition of employment, after the offer is made.  Employment will not commence until the results of the background investigation are cleared through Human Resources.
    1. Under certain extenuating circumstances described in this policy, a “Request for Immediate Start” form can be submitted requesting employment to start prior to clearance of the results of the background investigation (see “Procedures” section).
  2. Background investigations are conducted on current Employees who:
    1. transfer into a new position and that position has been identified as requiring an initial or updated background investigation; or
    2. hold a position whose job duties or responsibilities require an initial or updated background investigation.
  3. In addition to new hires and current Employees, background investigations will be required for any Volunteers, Independent Contractors and Non-Employee Associates affiliated with Drexel University, if that person’s services, role, duties or responsibilities for Drexel require an initial or updated background investigation. Volunteer assignments, or the services of an Independent Contractor involving Direct Contact with Minors, will not commence until the results of the background investigation are cleared through Human Resources.
    1. Under certain extenuating circumstances described in this policy, a “Request for Immediate Start” form can be submitted requesting the volunteer assignment to start prior to clearance of the results of the background investigation (see “Procedures” section).
  4. If an Employee leaves the University and is re-hired to a position with the University within a year, a background check will not be required if a previous check was completed by Drexel. If an Employee leaves the University and is re-hired by the University more than a year later, a new background check will be required. Notwithstanding the foregoing, if the Employee is rehired and the position or job duties involve Direct Contact with Minors, the University may be required to conduct the background checks required by law as described in this policy.

    Background checks may include verification of information provided on the completed application for employment, résumé or on other forms used in the hiring process.

  5. Human Resources determines the scope and extent of the background investigation based upon the position, job responsibilities or services, and/or activities the person will do as an Employee or Volunteer for the University. At a minimum, a criminal history check in the state where the person resides or previously resided will be conducted. In addition, background checks may include any or all of the following:
    1. verification of Social Security number
    2. current and prior employment verification
    3. professional license verification
    4. education verification
    5. child or elder abuse registry
    6. reference checks
    7. drug and alcohol screening
    8. sexual offender registry
    9. motor vehicle record (see Risk Management, Automobile Policy)
    10. credit history check
    11. pre-employment drug screen (urinalysis)
    12. psychological and physical examinations
    13. Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance
    14. Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Record Check (PATCH)
    15. FBI criminal check, including a fingerprint check
    16. name/alias check
    17. other checks as determined by Human Resources
  6. Faculty or Professional Staff Members (including those affiliated with a collective bargaining unit), Student Workers, Temporary Staff, Non-Employee Associates, Volunteers or Finalist Candidates who have Direct Contact with a Minor, which includes care, instruction, supervision, guidance or control of a Minor or have routine interaction with a Minor, will be subject to all background checks required by the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law, as amended by Act 153 and as may be amended from time to time, in addition to all other checks required for the position.
  7. In order to ensure the safety of the University community, all persons to whom this policy applies are required to report if they are charged with any felony or a misdemeanor offense involving violence or sexual misconduct, or if they are subject to a restraining or custody-removal order involving child abuse or exploitation, to the Vice President of Public Safety (or designee) within 72 hours after the arrest or issuance of the restraining or removal order.
  8. If a person to whom this policy applies, is convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor offense involving violence or sexual misconduct, or has received any restraining or custody removal order involving child abuse or exploitation, that person must report the conviction to the Vice President of Public Safety (or designee) and submit documentation concerning the conviction within 72 hours after the conviction.

    Upon review of the arrest and/or conviction information, the Vice President of Public Safety (or designee) will conduct an investigation and convene a committee to determine whether adverse employment, or other appropriate, action is recommended. The review committee will include the Vice President of Human Resources and selected others on a limited and need to know basis.

    Noncompliance with the above-stated requirements, and/or misrepresentation of the circumstances relating to the events, may result in discipline, up to and including termination, loss of tenure (if applicable), revocation of a job offer, or loss of access to and privileges in the University.
  9. In the event that the University receives a notice from a consumer reporting agency that there is a substantial difference between the address for the person that the University provided to request the consumer report and the address in the reporting agency’s file for that person, University personnel shall take steps to confirm that the consumer report relates to the person about whom it has requested the report.  These steps shall include:
    1. Comparing the information in the consumer report to the information that the University:
      1. has obtained to verify the person’s identity;
      2. maintains in its own records, such as applications, or change of address notifications; or
      3. obtains from third party sources; or
    2.  Verifying the information in the consumer report with the person to whom the report relates.
  10. The department, center, college or school that is hiring someone (or arranging for the services of a Volunteer or Non-Employee Associate) is responsible for the costs associated with conducting background investigations. Before a background investigation is conducted, any person to whom this policy applies must sign a release form authorizing the background investigation and the release of information by former employers, educational institutions, or other organizations. Refusal to sign a release form eliminates the Finalist Candidate from further consideration for employment and, with respect to all others to whom this policy applies, may lead to disciplinary action, up to and including termination, loss of tenure (if applicable) or loss of access to and privileges in the University.

 

PROCEDURES

  1. All job postings for Faculty and Professional Staff Members will include a statement indicating that Finalist Candidates may be subject to a background investigation. Similarly, a Volunteer, Temporary Employee, Adjunct Faculty or Non-Employee Associate who will provide any services to the University shall be informed that a background investigation may be done. Human Resources is responsible for initiating background check investigations after being notified of the offer by the hiring department.
  2. Temporary Employees hired through an outside agency must have a valid background check completed through their agency prior to the start of their assignment at Drexel. If a Faculty of Professional Staff Member is hired through an outside executive search firm (recruiter), Drexel will determine in the agreement with the firm or recruiter whether the search firm or recruiter will conduct the appropriate background check for the Finalist Candidate(s). Background checks conducted by an outside executive search firm (or recruiter) for any such Faculty and/or Professional Staff Member hired by Drexel may be acceptable if reviewed and cleared by Human Resources prior to the new Employee’s start date.
  3. The offer/appointment letter (or similar document, if any, for a Volunteer, Temporary Employee, Adjunct Faculty or Non-Employee Associate) shall include a statement that employment will not commence until the results of the background investigation are reviewed and cleared through Human Resources. In the event the offer letter omits this statement or if an offer letter is not required as in the case of a Volunteer, Temporary Employee or Non-Employee Associate, it is still the policy of the University to require background investigations in accordance with this policy.
  4. Except for any individual who is subject to a background check pursuant to Act 153 (relating to having Direct Contact with Minors) and only under certain extenuating circumstances described below, employment may begin prior to the results of the background investigation being received and accepted. In these cases, the department would be responsible for submitting a “Request for Immediate Start” form to Human Resources for review and approval indicating the specific reason for the request. Requests for immediate start will only be considered based on the following criteria:
    1. Unexpected illness or unplanned absence of a current Faculty or Professional Staff Member that requires an immediate replacement (i.e. Temporary Employee or Adjunct Faculty);
    2. Immediate need to fill a position based on a safety or compliance issue;
    3. Immediate need to fill a research or clinical position related to patient care (if allowed by regulatory compliance), animal care or laboratory supervision;
    4. Urgent business need that could result in a financial issue or otherwise inhibit the University’s ability to deliver a significant service
    The "Request for Immediate Start" does not apply to Act 153 background checks for employment or any volunteer assignment
  5. If the Request for Immediate Start form is approved by Human Resources, the Finalist Candidate will be required to sign a statement acknowledging that he or she understands that the continuance of his or her employment is conditioned upon the University’s review and acceptance of the results of the background check investigation.
  6. Having a poor credit history or a criminal history, including being arrested or convicted of a crime, does not necessarily preclude employment. All information relating to the credit history and/or the criminal history is considered on a case-by-case basis, except where required by law. With regard to the criminal history, except as required by law, Drexel will consider multiple factors on a case-by-case basis, including, but not limited to, the nature of the crime and its relevance to the particular position and the time elapsed since the arrest or conviction, in making hiring decisions and other decisions with regard to persons who are covered by this policy. In addition, consideration will be given to the nature of the position involved, the job duties and responsibilities, and the implication for the general safety and security of the campus community as well as the security of University assets.
  7. If any negative information is obtained in a background investigation, it will be reviewed by the Background Check Review Committee whose members include the Vice President of Public Safety (or designee), the Vice President of Human Resources, and a representative from the Provost Office, with guidance from the Office of General Counsel. If applicable, a representative from a collective bargaining unit and/or the hiring department will be consulted during the review process. Except as required by law, an individualized assessment will be made based on the information and a final employment determination (or other decision regarding the person’s relationship with the University) will be made.
  8. Should an adverse action be contemplated and/or taken because of the results of a background investigation on matters covered by the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the University will comply with the notice provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Human Resources will give the Finalist Candidate or other person to whom this policy applies a copy of the background investigation report by Human Resources and will be given an opportunity to admit, refute and/or correct any information provided in the report. A Notice of Adverse Action letter will be sent to the individual, informing the individual that Human Resources has made a final decision. This letter will be sent along with the “Summary of Your Rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.”
  9. Regardless of whether the Finalist Candidate (or other person to whom this policy applies) has commenced working or providing services, the University reserves the right at any time to rescind any offer of employment, or to take any other necessary action regarding the person’s relationship with the University, should the results of a background investigation be unacceptable to the University.

PENNSYLVANIA ACT 153 BACKGROUND CHECK PROCEDURES - DIRECT CONTACT WITH MINORS

In addition to the other procedures in this policy, the following procedures apply to any individual, 14 years or older, who applies for a paid position, or any Non-Employee Associate whose duties for the University, or any Volunteer whose volunteer assignment involves responsibility for the welfare of Minors or Direct Contact with Minors. The Pennsylvania state legislature enacted Act 153 of the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law (CPSL), effective December 31, 2014. Act 153 strengthened the CPSL by requiring colleges and universities to obtain background clearances for any individuals having contact with minors.
  1. To comply with Act 153 all Drexel Faculty, Professional Staff Members, including those affiliated with a collective bargaining unit, Student Workers, Volunteers, Temporary Staff, and Non-Employee Associates who will who have Direct Contact with Minors, which include care, instruction, supervision, guidance or control of Minors or have routine interaction with Minors, must undergo three specific clearances as part of the background check (or in addition to any background check previously conducted), as follows: (1) a FBI Fingerprint Check; (2) a Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Record Check; and (3) a Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance.
  2. No new or current Drexel University Faculty, Professional Staff Member, including those affiliated with a collective bargaining unit, Student Workers, Volunteers, Temporary Staff, and/or Non-Employee Associate who will have Direct Contact with a Minor will be permitted to have any contact with a Minor until the required Act 153 background investigation is completed, reviewed and cleared by Human Resources.
  3. Once completed, Act 153 background investigations will be valid for 36 months (3 years) for any person maintaining direct contact with minors. If necessary, a new Act 153 background investigation will be completed at that time.
Provisional Employment of 90 Days
There may be situations in which employment must begin before all of the results of the Act 153 background checks are reviewed and cleared by Human Resources. In these situations Drexel allows for “provisional employment” of a single period not to exceed 90 days for full-time Employees only under the following conditions:
  1. The individual has applied for the FBI Fingerprint Check, the Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Record Check and the Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance and provides Human Resources with the completed forms within the time frames required.
  2. Drexel has no knowledge of information pertaining to the individual which would disqualify the individual from employment based on the offenses stated above.
  3. The individual swears or affirms in writing (click here for form) that s/he has not been convicted of an offense similar in nature to those stated in the section entitled “Grounds for Denying Employment or Volunteer Assignment or Participation in Program, Activity or Service – Direct Contact with Minors” under the laws or former laws of the U.S. or one of its territories or possessions, another state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico or a foreign nation, or under a former law of Pennsylvania.
  4. Drexel requires that the individual not be permitted to work alone with Minors and that s/he work in the immediate vicinity of an Employee whose Act 153 background checks have already been reviewed and cleared by Human Resources.
  5. If the background check reveals that the individual is disqualified from employment s/he will be immediately terminated.
Volunteers
Volunteers subject to Act 153 are required to undergo the FBI Fingerprint Check, Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Record Check and Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance. A volunteer may be exempted from the FBI Fingerprint Check requirement, only, under the following conditions:
  1. The position is unpaid.
  2. The Volunteer has been a resident of Pennsylvania continuously during the previous 10-year period.
  3. The Volunteer swears or affirms in writing (click here for form) that s/he has not been convicted of an offense similar in nature to those crimes stated in the section entitled “Grounds for Denying Employment or Volunteer Assignment or Participation in Program, Activity or Service – Direct Contact with Minors” under the laws or former laws of the U.S. or one of its territories or possessions, another state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico or a foreign nation, or under a former law of Pennsylvania.
Independent Contractors
Independent Contractors involved in a Program, Activity or Service in which s/he will have Direct Contact with a Minor must provide evidence that the Act 153 background checks have been completed, or a background check will be completed as outlined in this policy.

Grounds for Denying Employment or Volunteer Assignment or Participation in Program, Activity or Service – Direct Contact with Minors
Drexel will not approve an individual for employment, or, as applicable, any Volunteer assignment or Program, Activity or Service provided to Drexel by an Independent Contractor, where the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services has verified that the individual is named in the Statewide Child Abuse database as the perpetrator of a Founded Report committed within the five-year period immediately preceding verification (the background check).

Drexel will not approve an individual for employment, or, as applicable, any Volunteer assignment or Program, Activity or Service provided to Drexel by an Independent Contractor, if the criminal history record information indicates the individual has been convicted of a felony offense under the Act of April 14, 1972 (P.L.233, No.64), known as “The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act”, committed within the five-year period immediately preceding verification (the background check).

Drexel will not approve an individual for employment, or, as applicable, any Volunteer assignment or Program, Activity or Service provided to Drexel by an Independent Contractor, if the criminal history record information indicates the individual has been convicted of one or more of the following offenses under Title 18, Pennsylvania Statutes (relating to crimes and offenses) or an equivalent crime under Federal law or the law of another state:
  • Chapter 25 (relating to criminal homicide)
  • Section 2702 (relating to aggravated assault)
  • Section 2709.1 (relating to stalking)
  • Section 2901 (relating to kidnapping)
  • Section 2902 (relating to unlawful restraint)
  • Section 3121 (relating to rape)
  • Section 3122.1 (relating to statutory sexual assault)
  • Section 3123 (relating to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse)
  • Section 3124.1 (relating to sexual assault)
  • Section 3125 (relating to aggravated indecent assault)
  • Section 3126 (relating to indecent assault)
  • Section 3127 (relating to indecent exposure)
  • Section 4302 (relating to incest)
  • Section 4303 (relating to concealing death of child)
  • Section 4304 (relating to endangering welfare of children)
  • Section 4305 (relating to dealing in infant children)
  • A felony offense under section 5902(b) (relating to prostitution and related offenses)
  • Section 5903(c) or (d) (relating to obscene and other sexual materials and performances)
  • Section 6301 (relating to corruption of minors)
  • Section 6312 (relating to sexual abuse of children)
  • The attempt, solicitation or conspiracy to commit any of these offenses
If an Employee or Volunteer or Independent Contractor of Drexel subject to Act 153 is arrested for or convicted of an offense (listed above) that would constitute grounds for denying employment or a Volunteer assignment or participation in a Program, Activity or Service, or is named as a perpetrator in a Founded or Indicated Child Abuse report, the Employee or Volunteer shall provide the Vice President of Public Safety (or designee) with written notice of the changes in his/her clearance status not later than 72 hours after the arrest, conviction or receipt of notification that the person has been listed as a perpetrator in the Statewide database.

If Drexel has a reasonable belief that an Employee or Volunteer or Independent Contractor was arrested or convicted for an offense that would constitute grounds for denying employment, or a volunteer assignment or participation in a Program, Activity or Service under Title 18 of the Pennsylvania statutes as listed above or was named as a perpetrator in a Founded or Indicated Child Abuse report, or the Employee or Volunteer or Independent Contractor has provided notice of the changes in his/her clearance status as required, Drexel will immediately require the Employee or Volunteer or Independent Contractor to submit current information (results of new background checks with the Act 153 checks).

Any Employee or Volunteer or Independent Contractor who willfully fails to disclose the changes in his/her clearance status shall be subject to discipline up to and including denial of employment or volunteer position or termination of any services provided and, in addition, may be charged with a misdemeanor of the third degree as prescribed by the CPSL as amended from time to time.

AT-WILL EMPLOYMENT NOT AFFECTED

Notwithstanding anything to the contrary stated in this policy, nothing herein is intended to alter the at-will status of any non-tenured Faculty or Professional Staff Member.  Drexel University at all times retains the right to terminate any non-tenured Faculty or Professional Staff Member at any time for any lawful reason, or for no reason at all.