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7.2.7 Policy Statement on Faculty Background Screenings

Approved by Academic Council, Administration
Revised December 2008, January 2009, February 2009, August 2009, September 2009
Reviewed and approved by Academic Council on September 10, 2009. Issued January 2010.

Purpose
University of the Pacific has created a background screening process that is conducted to promote a safe work environment, to advance the mission of the University, and to protect our University's most important assets: the people we serve and the people with whom we serve.  It assists hiring authorities in making prudent employment decisions based upon more comprehensive job-related information.  Pacific will not employ individuals with prior criminal convictions who, in the judgment of the University, pose an unacceptable risk to the University or its employees, students, and visitors.  Nor will Pacific employ individuals who misrepresent their identity through falsified social security numbers, work-related credentials, or any other material information.  This policy establishes procedures for carrying out background screenings for prospective faculty employees.

Functional Responsibility
Once the appropriate Search Committee Chair or Dean has selected the eligible faculty candidate(s), it is the responsibility of the Human Resources Administrator to:

  • Initiate a background screening immediately after a faculty candidate for employment has been notified that he/she is a finalist for an authorized faculty position.
  • Report to the appropriate Search Committee Chair and hiring Dean the outcome of the findings about the eligibility for employment of the faculty candidate finalist based on the results of background screening and the criteria set forth in the Policy. 
Policy
All faculty finalist candidates for employment with the University must authorize the completion of a lawful background screening consistent with this Policy by signing the appropriate authorization forms for a background screening as part of the hiring process.
  • The University will not request (or use) information on arrests or detentions that did not result in a criminal conviction.
  • The University will not request (or use) information on referrals to, or participation in, any pre-trial or post-trial diversion program.
    Note:  The University may request (or use) a portion of this information in hiring for faculty positions that will work at the University health care facilities.

The University shall not take any adverse action based upon:

  • an arrest or detention that did not result in a conviction.
  • a conviction for which the record has been ordered expunged by the court.
  • an arrest for which pre-trial diversion has been completed.
  • a misdemeanor conviction for political activities.
  • convictions that are more than two years old (under certain penal statutes) for possession of marijuana, possession of paraphernalia for using marijuana, and presence in location where marijuana is being used.

Among other circumstances, of information revealed by the background screening report, generally a candidate will not be recommended for employment when:

  • Background screening shows a sexual offender conviction record.
  • Background screening shows a felony conviction record.
  • Background screening reveals what, in the judgment of the University, is material information that was not disclosed, improperly disclosed, or misrepresented on the candidate's vitae, background screening release form, or in other materials filed by or presented by the applicant.

Scope
Except as otherwise provided for in this Policy, a background screening finding of a criminal conviction will not automatically disqualify a candidate for employment at Pacific.  However, the University may take such a finding of criminal conviction, and its circumstances as perceived by the University, into account in making a decision of employment when the faculty responsibilities and the surrounding circumstances and conditions of their discharge, in the University's view, warrant a decision not to hire that candidate.

An offer of employment is contingent upon:

  • Degree/Credential/License - Verification, to the satisfaction of the University, for positions requiring a degree or professional certification/license and in cases where the employment decision will be based on the completion of specific academic work.
  • Sex Offender/Criminal Conviction Record - Check, to the satisfaction of the University, for all faculty positions and all faculty candidates.
  • Social Security Number - Verification.
  • For positions with driving requirements as specified in the job description, verify a valid United States driver's license and the candidate's ability to be insured under Pacific's insurance carrier.

Felony or Sexual Offender Finding:
If a candidate's background screening results indicate a felony or sexual offender conviction, Human Resources may, subject to the provisions of the Policy, make a negative recommendation regarding the candidate's eligibility for employment.

Misdemeanor Finding:
If a candidate's background screening results indicate a misdemeanor finding, Human Resources will review the offense against the job-related responsibilities and make a recommendation for the University of its impact on suitability for employment.

Improper Credentials Finding:
If a candidate's background screening results indicate any material information that was not disclosed by the candidate or any improper or falsification of license and/or academic credentials, Human Resources may disqualify the candidate's eligibility for employment. 

Search Committees and Deans will not receive a copy of any candidate's report.  They will be given a recommendation regarding the candidate's eligibility for employment.

An offer of employment made before the initiation and/or completion of a background screening process is conditional upon the completion of the process and a determination of eligibility by the Human Resources Administrator for employment.

No conditional offer of employment may be made unconditional, nor may any candidate go on the University payroll or begin work of any sort until all appropriate background screenings have been completed and eligibility for employment is determined and approved by Human Resources.

Existing faculty will not be subject to a background screening unless the faculty member transfers to an administrative position.  At which time, such screening will be required if not previously completed.  Faculty being promoted within faculty ranks will not be required to complete a background screening.

Human Resources will maintain copies of the release authorization forms and results as required by law.  They will be kept as legally required in a separate, locked file apart from personnel files.

Background screening results SHALL NOT be part of the faculty's personnel file.

Procedure

  • All faculty candidates identified by the appropriate search committee as finalists for a position must sign and return a Release and Authorization form to Human Resources authorizing a background screening investigation mandated under this Policy.  The form will be made available to eligible candidates by Human Resources.  Application materials for faculty positions will indicate the finalists for a position must sign and return to Human Resources a Release and Authorization form authorizing a background screening investigation mandated under this Policy in order to be further considered for employment.
  • Human Resources will authorize a non-University entity specializing in lawful background screening to conduct any background screening required under this Policy.  The average response time is a minimum of two to four days.
  • The Human Resources Administrator will report to the Search Committee Chair and hiring Dean in writing concerning the candidate's eligibility for employment.
  • Prior to taking any adverse employment action based in whole or in part on the results of the background screening, the candidate will be notified by the vendor of screening results.  The applicant will have ten days to respond to the adverse finding and will work directly with the vendor.  (These could include items that the candidate believes should be removed from the report or items that were incorrectly posted to the applicant's record.
  • Final eligibility for hire will be authorized by the Provost or his designee(s) (Deans on the two satellite campuses)
Appeal Process
Determinations of ineligibility may be appealed by the candidate of the Search Committee Chair and hiring Dean by writing to the Provost or designee within ten (10) days of notice of such decision with information that is relevant to the appeal.  The Provost shall consult with the Director or Assistant Vice President of Human Resources to make the final decision on the appeal.