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Background Check Policy FAQs

General

1. What is the purpose of this policy?

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.  It is intended to support the verification of credentials, criminal history, credit status and other information related to employment decisions in order to provide the safest possible environment for those in the Drexel community. Although there is no guarantee against criminal acts, it does reduce the likelihood of crime, and may reduce the campus's liability in the event a crime occurs. It also helps protect hiring departments from the possibility of lawsuits; potentially saving cost in time and morale.

2. Who does the policy apply to?

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 Drexel.

3. Under this policy, will current faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates be subject to a background check?

Current faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates are required to report any conviction which occurs during their employment with Drexel to Public Safety. A background check may be initiated on current faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates if required by law or if there is a reasonable belief that the employee has been convicted of a crime without reporting it to Public Safety.

4. What exactly does this policy do?

The policy provides guidance on the criteria for determining the level of background checks required. It articulates the responsibilities of the department and describes the process for background checks, including the notification process, and provides for the confidentiality of information gathered and the protection of privacy of individuals undergoing background checks.

5. Who is responsible for making sure departments are complying with the policy?

Department Heads are responsible for ensuring that their departments/schools are in compliance with the policy.  The Department of Human Resources and the Department of Public Safety will work with Internal Audit and management consulting services to periodically review compliance with the policy.

6. Can faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates be hired before the background check has cleared?

Employment will be contingent upon the University’s acceptance of the results of the background investigation.  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.

7. Why is Drexel requiring background checks?

Drexel is committed to protecting the safety, security and health of its students, faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates and others, as well as safeguarding the interests of Drexel. As part of its efforts to create a safe work and study environment, Drexel requires that a criminal history background check be conducted on prospective faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates as a condition of employment.

8. Who do I contact if I have questions or concerns about the policy?

You may contact your Department Head or your HR Partner.

9. How thorough is the search for conviction records?

The background check vendor determines where the candidate has lived and worked and conducts a national criminal search, sex offender search, and an appropriate search of court records.

10. When will the revised background check policy go into effect?

The revised background check policy went into effect March 1, 2013.

11. Who is required to submit to a background check?

All prospective Drexel faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates must submit to a background check.  Faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates who are currently employed may also be subject to a background check.

12. What type of background checks will Drexel be conducting?

The Department of 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:

  • verification of Social Security number
  • criminal history in the states where the individual resides or resided
  • current and prior employment verification
  • professional license verification
  • educational verification
  • child or elder abuse registry
  • professional reference checks
  • drug and alcohol screening
  • sex offender registry
  • motor vehicle record
  • credit history check
  • pre-employment drug screen (urinalysis)
  • psychological and physical examinations
  • PA Child Abuse History
  • PA Statewide Criminal Search (PATCH)
  • FBI Fingerprint check
  • name/alias check
  • other checks as determined by Human Resources

13. Why do all new faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates have to submit to a background check?

The safety of our faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates and those they serve is of the utmost concern. Requiring a background check of all new faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates is an important precaution that we can take to help ensure a safe environment.

14. Who conducts the background checks?

A third party vendor will conduct the background check.

15. I suspect a child is being abused. Can I just tell my supervisor?

No.  State law requires that you inform either the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare ChildLine (1-800-932-0313) or local law enforcement (911).  You should also inform your immediate supervisor and the Department of Public Safety.

16. What happens if a candidate refuses to sign a release for a background check?

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.

17. How does my department ensure that an outside organization is complying with the policy?

Any future leases, agreements or contracts to use Drexel facilities must include a clause requiring compliance with this policy. For outside organizations already operating under a current lease, the Office of General Counsel (OGC) has suggested language about providing the policy and having the organization provide written attestation on compliance.

Access & Privacy

1. Does a background check include checking into a person's credit history and personal finances?

Typically, a background check does not include credit history or personal finances.  However, certain finance and executive level positions will require a credit history report.  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.  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.

2. Under this policy, will current faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates be subject to a background check?

Current faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates are required to report any conviction which occurs during their employment with Drexel to Public Safety. A background check may be initiated on current faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates if required by law or if there is a reasonable belief that the employee has been convicted of a crime without reporting it to Public Safety.

3. How is the security of personal information maintained, such as date of birth and social security number?

These checks will be conducted by a third-party provider, who offers a web-based application that ensures confidentiality of personal information. To further ensure confidentiality of personal information, the results indicating a conviction will be reviewed and adjudicated by the Review Committee, which will make the final hiring decision.

4. I suspect a child is being abused. Can I just tell my supervisor?

No.  State law requires that you inform either the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare ChildLine (1-800-932-0313) or local law enforcement (911).  You should also inform your immediate supervisor and the Department of Public Safety.

5. What exactly does this policy do?

The policy provides guidance on the criteria for determining the level of background checks required. It articulates the responsibilities of the department and describes the process for background checks, including the notification process, and provides for the confidentiality of information gathered and the protection of privacy of individuals undergoing background checks.

6. Who will have access to the background check results?

The Department of Human Resources will manage and retain all background check reports. Results of the background investigation are kept confidential by Human Resources, but may be shared on a strict need-to-know basis.  These reports are filed separately from the rest of the personnel file.

7. How will the University protect an individual's right to privacy?

Drexel policy and state and federal laws recognize an individual’s right to privacy and prohibit campus faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates and others from seeking out, using, or disclosing personal information except within the scope of their assigned duties. All background checks results are retained in the Department of Human Resources. Hiring departments will not receive specific details of a background check. The Department of Human Resources will provide a copy of the background report to the candidate upon request.

8. How long will the background results remain on file at Human Resources?

For applicants not hired, the records will be maintained for a period of three (3) years.

9. How will the hiring department be notified of the results?

The Talent Acquisition Consultant will provide regular e-mail notifications regarding the status. Once the results are adjudicated, the person requesting the screen will receive an e-mail notice indicating if the candidate may or may not be hired.

10. Why is the social security number required to conduct the background checks?

The background check vendor uses the social security number to determine where an individual has lived and to confirm an individual's identity.

11. How will Drexel protect an individual's right to privacy?

The Department of Human Resources conducts background checks under the supervision of the Vice President of Human Resources. The Department of Human Resources will serve as the Office of Record for all background check results and will maintain confidentiality. Departments will not receive any details of a background check, only an e-mail notice indicating if the candidate may or may not be hired.  Drexel policy and state and federal laws recognize an individual’s right to privacy and prohibit faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates and others from seeking out, using, or disclosing personal information except within the scope of their assigned duties.

12. Who will have access to the background check results?

The Department of Human Resources will maintain the results of background checks. If there are criminal convictions, the Department of Human Resources will notify the Review Committee, which will review the results and make final determinations regarding the suitability of individuals for employment.

13. Will there be a list of other companies from whom Drexel will accept background checks, if a finalist candidate or current employee has already completed a background check within the last year (12 months)?

All faculty and professional staff members, students, volunteers, temporary employees and non-employee associates must undergo a background check through the designated university vendor.  For outside organizations using Drexel facilities, your department must have the outside organization submit written attestation that they are complying with the policy, including the required background checks. At this time, there is no requirement to check which company was used, just to have them sign that the background checks have been completed in the past six (6) months.

14. How does my department ensure that an outside organization is complying with the policy?

Any future leases, agreements or contracts to use Drexel facilities must include a clause requiring compliance with this policy. For outside organizations already operating under a current lease, the Office of General Counsel (OGC) has suggested language about providing the policy and having the organization provide written attestation on compliance.

Hiring

1. When are background checks required?

All new hires after January 1, 2004 must undergo a background check upon an offer of employment.  The University may also 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 as required.

2. When should the background check process be initiated?

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.  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.

3. At what point in the hiring process is the background check conducted?

Once the department has extended an offer to the individual and the completed new hire paperwork packet is received by the Department of Human Resources, the background check process should be initiated.

4. Will the candidate be automatically disqualified because of a conviction?

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.

5. How will the hiring department be notified of the results?

The Talent Acquisition Consultant will provide regular e-mail notifications regarding the status. Once the results are adjudicated, the person requesting the screen will receive an e-mail notice indicating if the candidate may or may not be hired.

6. If an employee is rehired within the one (1) year period and they have not had a previous background check, will they need a background check before they can be rehired?

Yes, if a person that is being rehired within one (1) year has not previously had a background check for employment, they will need to have the background check completed prior to reemployment with Drexel. After this initial background check is completed, assuming they are rehired within one (1) year, they will not need a new background check unless the position requires additional background checks not previously conducted on the individual.

7. Is there a provision in the policy to hire an employee, such as an adjunct professor, on an emergency basis?

Yes, the policy allows for emergency appointments of seven (7) days or less with the approval of the appropriate Dean or the Vice President of Human Resources. If the appointment is expected to extend longer than seven (7) days, a contingent letter of offer must be issued to the individual.

8. When should the department let a prospective employee know background checks are required?

All job postings 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.

9. Will the offer letter templates be updated to accommodate the background check process?

Yes, all of the templates will be updated and available on the Department of Human Resources website and in the Drexel Hiring Guides.

10. What happens if a candidate refuses to sign a release for a background check?

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.

11. Can faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates be hired before the background check has cleared?

New hires (individuals who are not currently faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates) can be hired and begin work for pay before the background check has cleared.  Employment will be contingent upon the University’s acceptance of the results of the background investigation.  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.

12. Are background checks required each time students or other faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates who are on term/semester assignments leave the campus and return to start a new campus position?

As long as the individual returns to the same position or one that is similar, with less than one (1) year separation from the University, background checks are not required each time the individual returns to campus, unless the new position requires background checks not previously conducted on the individual.

Review Committee

1. Will the candidate be automatically disqualified because of a conviction?

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.

2. Who determines which positions have a significant likelihood of regular contact with children?

The hiring department, in consultation with the Department of Human Resources, will determine which positions should be designated as having a significant likelihood of regular contact with children based on the duties and responsibilities of each position.

3. How long does it take for the Review Committee to make its decisions?

The Review Committee will complete its review within ten (10) business days of receiving notification of a background check with convictions.

4. Are there certain kinds of convictions that will automatically preclude hiring or promotion into certain positions?

Individuals with criminal convictions for theft, embezzlement, identity theft or fraud cannot be hired into positions with fiduciary responsibilities. Convictions for child molestation and other sex offenses will automatically preclude an individual from employment that involves a significant likelihood of regular contact with children, students, outreach programs, or access to residence facilities.  The time elapsed since the conviction is also considered.  This list is not inclusive, but serves to illustrate the decision-making criteria.

5. What if the candidate does not believe the results of background check are correct?

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.  The Department of Human Resources will give the Finalist Candidate or other person to whom this policy applies a copy of the background investigation report and will allow them 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 them that the Review Committee has made a final decision.  This letter will be sent along with the “Summary of Your Rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.”

6. Does the Review Committee have final decision-making authority regarding the suitability of an individual for employment?

Yes. The Review Committee reviews all background checks in which convictions are found and makes the final determinations regarding the suitability of individuals for employment.

7. Who is responsible for making sure departments are complying with the policy?

Department Heads are responsible for ensuring that their departments/schools are in compliance with the policy.  The Department of Human Resources and the Department of Public Safety will work with Internal Audit and management consulting services to periodically review compliance with the policy.

Timing/Timeframes

1. When are background checks required?

All new hires after January 1, 2004 must undergo a background check upon an offer of employment.  The University may also 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 as required.

2. When will the revised background check policy go into effect?

The revised background check policy went into effect March 1, 2013.

3. At what point in the hiring process is the background check conducted?

Once the department has extended an offer to the individual and the completed new hire paperwork packet is received by the Department of Human Resources, the background check process should be initiated.

4. Will the candidate be automatically disqualified because of a conviction?

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.

5. Do current faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates have to undergo background checks?

Background investigations are conducted on current employees who:

  • transfer (or are promoted) into a new position and that position has been identified as requiring an initial or updated background investigation; or
  • hold a position whose job duties or responsibilities require an initial or updated background investigation.

6. When should the background check process be initiated?

All job postings 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.

7. How long will the background results remain on file at Human Resources?

For applicants not hired, the records will be maintained for a period of three (3) years.

8. How long does a background check take?

Turnaround time depends on the type of background check. In general, the turnaround time is 48-72 hours, but depending on criminal record searches, some local governments (i.e. counties, states, etc.) response times may vary and in some cases can take up to four (4) weeks.

9. Can faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates be hired before the background check has cleared?

Employment will be contingent upon the University’s acceptance of the results of the background investigation.  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.

10. What about assignment of new job duties, including reclassification?

Background checks are to be initiated and completed before an individual is assigned new job duties that require specific background checks not previously conducted on the individual.

11. If an employee is rehired within the one (1) year period and they have not had a previous background check, will they need a background check before they can be rehired?

Yes, if a person that is being rehired within one (1) year has not previously had a background check for employment, they will need to have the background check completed prior to reemployment with Drexel. After this initial background check is completed, assuming they are rehired within one (1) year, they will not need a new background check unless the position requires additional background checks not previously conducted on the individual.

12. When should the department let a prospective employee know background checks are required?

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.

13. Will the offer letter templates be updated to accommodate the background check process?

Yes, all of the templates will be updated and available on the Department of Human Resources website and in the Drexel Hiring Guides.

14. Can faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates be hired before the background check has cleared?

New hires (individuals who are not currently faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates) can be hired and begin work for pay before the background check has cleared.  Employment will be contingent upon the University’s acceptance of the results of the background investigation.  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.

15. When are student volunteers required to have background checks?

This will depend on the situation:

  • If a student volunteers to host a high school senior for a night as part of recruitment activities, departments should transfer liability to the parents of the senior coming to campus. If this is done, a background check of that student volunteer would not be required. (Departments can call the Office of Risk Management to obtain a waiver of liability, agreement, or memo of understanding.)
  • If a student volunteers to work for a campus sponsored event or program with a significant likelihood of regular contact with children (under the age of 18 who have not been accepted into Drexel) a background check is required, unless the students' interaction with these minors is supervised at all times.
If you have questions about whether you need a background check for work-study students or student volunteers, consult with your HR Partner or Talent Acquisition Consultant.

16. Are background checks required each time students or other faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates who are on term/semester assignments leave the campus and return to start a new campus position?

As long as the individual returns to the same position or one that is similar, with less than one (1) year separation from the University, background checks are not required each time the individual returns to campus, unless the new position requires background checks not previously conducted on the individual.

17. How long does it take for the Review Committee to make its decisions?

The Review Committee will complete its review within ten (10) business days of receiving notification of a background check with convictions.

18. How far back does the check for criminal convictions go? Will it include all convictions?

In general background checks can go back seven (7) years but can also automatically report all past criminal convictions in an individual’s history, unless restricted by contract or law.

19. What about faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates that have worked at Drexel prior to July 1, 2008 and who have a significant likelihood of regular contact with children? Do they require the background checks required by the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Act?

Yes. All faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates, regardless of hire date, are required to undergo the specific background checks related to positions which have a significant likelihood of regular contact with children.

Regular Contact with Children

1. What type of background checks will Drexel be conducting?

The Department of 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:

  • verification of Social Security number
  • criminal history in the states where the individual resides or resided
  • current and prior employment verification
  • professional license verification
  • educational verification
  • child or elder abuse registry
  • professional reference checks
  • drug and alcohol screening
  • sex offender registry
  • motor vehicle record
  • credit history check
  • pre-employment drug screen (urinalysis)
  • psychological and physical examinations
  • PA Child Abuse History
  • PA Statewide Criminal Search (PATCH)
  • FBI Fingerprint check
  • name/alias check
  • other checks as determined by Human Resources

2. Which specific background checks are required for positions with a significant likelihood of regular contact with children?

In addition to any of the background checks required based upon position, job responsibilities or services, positions with a significant likelihood of regular contact with children will be subject to all background checks required by the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Act including:

  • PA Child Abuse History
  • PA Statewide Criminal Search (PATCH)
  • FBI Fingerprint check

3. How do I know if a position that I’m applying for is a position with a significant likelihood of regular contact with children?

The job description and position advertisement will provide notice to prospective faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates that the position they are applying to is one with a significant likelihood of regular contact with children. Such notice shall also be provided in any offer of employment that is extended prior to a criminal history background check being conducted.

4. What age is considered a child for background checks required by the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Act?

A child, or minor, is anyone under age 18 who has not been accepted into Drexel.

5. What about Drexel University students taking classes that are under 18?

Although those students are minors, this policy is concerned with programs designed to include children, through high school age, not regular Drexel classes or activities for accepted and/or enrolled students. However, the duty to report suspected abuse is for every person under 18, including Drexel students.

6. Will student employees working with a significant likelihood of regular contact with children require the background checks required by the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Act?

Yes.  Students must undergo the aforementioned background check if they have a significant likelihood of regular contact with children, whether as a volunteer or an employee.

7. What about non-exempt employees?

All faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates—non-exempt and exempt—are subject to the policy.

8. What about programs using buildings where other faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates are working or Facilities staff members take care of maintenance or IRT staff members take care of computers? Will those faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates all need background checks because the children will be in those buildings?

At this time, only faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates with a significant likelihood of regular contact with children must undergo the specific background check. Each department should consider access to children and supervision of children to ensure that other Drexel faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates or outside contractors are properly supervised when they are in the vicinity of children.

9. Do guests such as one-time lecturers and speakers need a background check as required by the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Act?

At this time, the background check is not required for one-time lecturers and speakers interacting with children.  However, the Drexel program staff should monitor the degree to which the guest has access to children.

10. What about one- or two-day campus programs/events for children that rely on the volunteerism of faculty and professional staff members?

For large-scale, one- or two-day programs/events that rely on a large number of “volunteer” faculty and professional staff members, like the “Inspire A Child to Dream” annual event, background checks required by the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Act are not necessary.

11. Do departments working with recruiting high school students/incoming Drexel students require the background checks required by the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Act?

Yes.  Those programs are included and anyone with a significant likelihood of regular contact with children, including high school students who have not been accepted into Drexel, must have a background check completed.  A child is anyone under 18 who has not been accepted into Drexel.

Results/Actions

1. When should the background check process be initiated?

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.  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.

2. Who will have access to the background check results?

The Department of Human Resources will manage and retain all background check reports. Results of the background investigation are kept confidential by Human Resources, but may be shared on a strict need-to-know basis.  These reports are filed separately from the rest of the personnel file.

3. How long will the background results remain on file at Human Resources?

For applicants not hired, the records will be maintained for a period of three (3) years.

4. What if the candidate does not believe the results of background check are correct?

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.  The Department of Human Resources will give the Finalist Candidate or other person to whom this policy applies a copy of the background investigation report and will allow them 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 them that the Review Committee has made a final decision.  This letter will be sent along with the “Summary of Your Rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.”

5. What happens if a candidate refuses to sign a release for a background check?

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.

6. What happens if it is discovered that an applicant or current employee falsified an employment application or consent form?

Falsifying application materials or the consent form could be grounds for non-selection of a candidate or termination of employment.

7. How will Drexel protect an individual's right to privacy?

The Department of Human Resources conducts background checks under the supervision of the Vice President of Human Resources. The Department of Human Resources will serve as the Office of Record for all background check results and will maintain confidentiality. Departments will not receive any details of a background check, only an e-mail notice indicating if the candidate may or may not be hired.  Drexel policy and state and federal laws recognize an individual’s right to privacy and prohibit faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates and others from seeking out, using, or disclosing personal information except within the scope of their assigned duties.

8. Who will have access to the background check results?

The Department of Human Resources will maintain the results of background checks. If there are criminal convictions, the Department of Human Resources will notify the Review Committee, which will review the results and make final determinations regarding the suitability of individuals for employment.

9. Can faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates be hired before the background check has cleared?

New hires (individuals who are not currently faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates) can be hired and begin work for pay before the background check has cleared.  Employment will be contingent upon the University’s acceptance of the results of the background investigation.  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.

10. Does a criminal conviction automatically preclude an applicant from employment or a current employee from a reclassification or promotion?

No. If there is a criminal conviction, the Review Committee will review the results and make the final determination regarding the individual's suitability for employment in the position.

The Review Committee 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.

11. Are there certain kinds of convictions that will automatically preclude hiring or promotion into certain positions?

Individuals with criminal convictions for theft, embezzlement, identity theft or fraud cannot be hired into positions with fiduciary responsibilities. Convictions for child molestation and other sex offenses will automatically preclude an individual from employment that involves a significant likelihood of regular contact with children, students, outreach programs, or access to residence facilities.  The time elapsed since the conviction is also considered.  This list is not inclusive, but serves to illustrate the decision-making criteria.

12. Does the Review Committee have final decision-making authority regarding the suitability of an individual for employment?

Yes. The Review Committee reviews all background checks in which convictions are found and makes the final determinations regarding the suitability of individuals for employment.

13. How far back does the check for criminal convictions go? Will it include all convictions?

In general background checks can go back seven (7) years but can also automatically report all past criminal convictions in an individual’s history, unless restricted by contract or law.

14. I suspect a child is being abused. Can I just tell my supervisor?

No.  State law requires that you inform either the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare ChildLine (1-800-932-0313) or local law enforcement (911).  You should also inform your immediate supervisor and the Department of Public Safety.

Affected Parties

1. What is the purpose of this policy?

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.  It is intended to support the verification of credentials, criminal history, credit status and other information related to employment decisions in order to provide the safest possible environment for those in the Drexel community. Although there is no guarantee against criminal acts, it does reduce the likelihood of crime, and may reduce the campus's liability in the event a crime occurs. It also helps protect hiring departments from the possibility of lawsuits; potentially saving cost in time and morale.

2. Is there a provision in the policy to hire an employee, such as an adjunct professor, on an emergency basis?

Yes, the policy allows for emergency appointments of seven (7) days or less with the approval of the appropriate Dean or the Vice President of Human Resources. If the appointment is expected to extend longer than seven (7) days, a contingent letter of offer must be issued to the individual.

3. Why do all new faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates have to submit to a background check?

The safety of our faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates and those they serve is of the utmost concern. Requiring a background check of all new faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates is an important precaution that we can take to help ensure a safe environment.

4. Who determines which positions have a significant likelihood of regular contact with children?

The hiring department, in consultation with the Department of Human Resources, will determine which positions should be designated as having a significant likelihood of regular contact with children based on the duties and responsibilities of each position.

5. Can faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates be hired before the background check has cleared?

New hires (individuals who are not currently faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates) can be hired and begin work for pay before the background check has cleared.  Employment will be contingent upon the University’s acceptance of the results of the background investigation.  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.

6. When are student volunteers required to have background checks?

This will depend on the situation:

  • If a student volunteers to host a high school senior for a night as part of recruitment activities, departments should transfer liability to the parents of the senior coming to campus. If this is done, a background check of that student volunteer would not be required. (Departments can call the Office of Risk Management to obtain a waiver of liability, agreement, or memo of understanding.)
  • If a student volunteers to work for a campus sponsored event or program with a significant likelihood of regular contact with children (under the age of 18 who have not been accepted into Drexel) a background check is required, unless the students' interaction with these minors is supervised at all times.

If you have questions about whether you need a background check for work-study students or student volunteers, consult with your HR Partner or Talent Acquisition Consultant.

7. Are background checks required each time students or other faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates who are on term/semester assignments leave the campus and return to start a new campus position?

As long as the individual returns to the same position or one that is similar, with less than one (1) year separation from the University, background checks are not required each time the individual returns to campus, unless the new position requires background checks not previously conducted on the individual.

8. Will student employees working with a significant likelihood of regular contact with children require the background checks required by the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Act?

Yes.  Students must undergo the aforementioned background check if they have a significant likelihood of regular contact with children, whether as a volunteer or an employee.

9. What about non-exempt employees?

All faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates—non-exempt and exempt—are subject to the policy.

10. What about programs using buildings where other faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates are working or Facilities staff members take care of maintenance or IRT staff members take care of computers? Will those faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates all need background checks because the children will be in those buildings?

At this time, only faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates with a significant likelihood of regular contact with children must undergo the specific background check. Each department should consider access to children and supervision of children to ensure that other Drexel faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates or outside contractors are properly supervised when they are in the vicinity of children.

11. What about faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates that have worked at Drexel prior to July 1, 2008 and who have a significant likelihood of regular contact with children? Do they require the background checks required by the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Act?

Yes. All faculty and professional staff members, volunteers, and non-employee associates, regardless of hire date, are required to undergo the specific background checks related to positions which have a significant likelihood of regular contact with children.

12. What about one- or two-day campus programs/events for children that rely on the volunteerism of faculty and professional staff members?

For large-scale, one- or two-day programs/events that rely on a large number of “volunteer” faculty and professional staff members, like the “Inspire A Child to Dream” annual event, background checks required by the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Act are not necessary.

13. Do departments working with recruiting high school students/incoming Drexel students require the background checks required by the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Act?

Yes.  Those programs are included and anyone with a significant likelihood of regular contact with children, including high school students who have not been accepted into Drexel, must have a background check completed.  A child is anyone under 18 who has not been accepted into Drexel.

14. Do guests such as one-time lecturers and speakers need a background check as required by the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Act?

At this time, the background check is not required for one-time lecturers and speakers interacting with children.  However, the Drexel program staff should monitor the degree to which the guest has access to children.

15. Will there be a list of other companies from whom Drexel will accept background checks, if a finalist candidate or current employee has already completed a background check within the last year (12 months)?

All faculty and professional staff members, students, volunteers, temporary employees and non-employee associates must undergo a background check through the designated university vendor.  For outside organizations using Drexel facilities, your department must have the outside organization submit written attestation that they are complying with the policy, including the required background checks. At this time, there is no requirement to check which company was used, just to have them sign that the background checks have been completed in the past six (6) months.