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Background Checks

Policy Number: HR-52
Effective Date: January 2004
Last Revision: March 2013
Responsible Officer: Senior Vice President of Student Life & Administrative Services

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 Senior Vice President of Student Life and Administrative Services 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

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.

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, non-tenured track or adjunct 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.

Minor is defined as someone under the age of 18.

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 a Student Worker/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.

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.

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 civic, charitable or humanitarian reasons, without promise, expectation or receipt of compensation for services rendered.

 

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 job offer is made.  Employment will be contingent upon the University’s acceptance of the results of the background investigation.
  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 all Volunteers and Non-employee Associates affiliated with Drexel University in any employment category, whether paid or non-paid, if that person’s services, duties or responsibilities for Drexel require an initial or updated background investigation.
  4. Human Resources determines the extent of the background investigation based upon the position, job responsibilities or services.  These may include any or all of the following:
    1. verification of Social Security number
    2. criminal history in the states where the individual resides or resided
    3. current and prior employment verification
    4. professional license verification
    5. educational verification
    6. child or elder abuse registry
    7. reference checks
    8. drug and alcohol screening
    9. sexual offender registry
    10. motor vehicle record (see Risk Management, Automobile Policy)
    11. credit history check
    12. pre-employment drug screen (urinalysis)
    13. psychological and physical examinations
    14. PA Child Abuse History
    15. PA Statewide Criminal Search (PATCH)
    16. FBI Fingerprint check
    17. name/alias check
    18. other checks as determined by Human Resources
  5. All Applicants also are expected to provide professional references from their former employers as well as education history information that can be used to verify academic accomplishments and records. 

    Background checks may include verification of information provided on the completed application for employment, résumé or on other forms used in the hiring process.  Information to be verified includes, but is not limited to, social security number and previous addresses.  Drexel University may also conduct a reference check and verification of education and employment background as stated on the employment application or other documents listed above.
  6. Faculty or Professional Staff Members, Student Workers, Temporary Staff, Non-employee Associates, Volunteers or Finalist Candidates who have a significant likelihood of regular contact with Minors or those who will have one-on-one or small group contact with Minors will be subject to all background checks required by the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Act 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 three business days 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 three business days after the conviction. 

    Upon review of the arrest and/or conviction information, the Senior Associate 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

All job postings will include a statement indicating that Applicants may be subject to a background investigation.  Similarly, a Volunteer or Non-employee Associate (or similar person) who is to provide any services to the University shall be informed that a background investigation may be done.  Background investigations will be conducted on a Finalist Candidate to whom an offer is given, an Employee whose position or duties and responsibilities require an initial or updated background investigation, a Volunteer and a Non-employee Associate, to the extent one has not already been done through another source (e.g., that person’s current employer).   The offer letter (or similar document, if any, for a Volunteer or Non-employee Associate) shall include a statement that the offer is contingent on the results of the background investigation.  In the event the offer letter omits this statement or if an offer letter is not required as in the case of a Volunteer or Non-employee Associate, it is still the policy of the University to require background investigations in accordance with this policy.

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.  With regard to the criminal history, 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.  If any negative information is obtained in a background investigation, it will be reviewed by a committee convened by the Vice President for Public Safety (or designee) and includes the Vice President of Human Resources, and an individualized assessment will be made of the information and a final employment determination (or other decision regarding the person’s relationship with the University) will be made.

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 that person 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.”

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.

 

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.