Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to describe the terms and conditions under which background checks are conducted for employees, students, volunteers, vendors and individuals living on the campus of Ohio Wesleyan University.

Policy

Effective April 1, 2018, Ohio Wesleyan University will conduct a background check for all new hire faculty and staff positions and certain student positions within the University. Background checks will also be conducted on former employees who return to work in specified occupations at Ohio Wesleyan University if the duration of the separation exceeds 30 days. Ohio Wesleyan 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.

Although a disqualification is possible, in accordance with federal and state laws, a previous issue does not automatically disqualify an applicant from consideration for employment with Ohio Wesleyan University. Depending on a variety of factors (for example, the nature of the position, the nature of the issue, and the amount of time that has passed), the candidate may still be eligible for employment. The factors outlined in Section III.C.3 Substantial Relationship Considerations will be utilized in determining whether to hire the external candidate.

An offer of employment may be extended to an applicant prior to the completion of the background check. However, if the applicant’s first day of work in the position is prior to the satisfactory completion of the appropriate background check, and the subsequent background check produces disqualifying information – the employee will be terminated.

When a candidate is disqualified for employment, in whole or in part, due to the background check results, the results will be provided as required by Ohio law and the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the candidate will be given an opportunity to refute the information in accordance with the deadlines required by the FCRA. Additional time may be provided to the candidate at the sole discretion of Ohio Wesleyan University.

Ohio Wesleyan University reserves the right to decline an applicant or to discipline and/or terminate an employee who has provided false, misleading, erroneous, or deceptive information on an application, resume, or during an interview or who has omitted material information during the hiring process.

Procedures/Guidelines

Background Checks Conducted

Human Resources, in collaboration with the hiring department, determines the extent of the background check for the open position (all faculty and staff positions at the University require a criminal background check, at minimum, as part of the employment process). These may include any of the following:

  • verification of Social Security number;
  • criminal history in the states where the individual resides or resided;
  • prior employment verification;
  • professional license verification;
  • educational verification;
  • child or elder abuse registry;
  • reference checks;
  • sexual offender registry;
  • motor vehicle record;
  • credit history check;
  • other checks as determined by Human Resources.

The Human Resources office, working in conjunction with hiring managers and search committees, will be responsible for coordinating all activities involved with background checks, including determining the scope, conducting checks, referring checks to outside vendors and making recommendations based on results. A key component of this role involves keeping information confidential, except on a need-to-know basis or as required by law. A breach of confidentiality or the inappropriate use of background check information may constitute a work violation and may be grounds for disciplinary action up to termination.

Positions Subject to Background Checks

The following provisions set forth the types of background checks, by position and by relationship to Ohio Wesleyan University, such as volunteers, employees who live on campus and their spouses and domestic partners who reside with them, and other resident guests. A position may satisfy one or more categories, such as a coach who operates institution-owned vehicles. Such position is subject to all applicable background checks. This is intended to be for explanatory purposes only and does not limit Ohio Wesleyan University’s right to conduct any and all type of background check it deems necessary, including those not included below. All references will be checked and as such, this type of check is not specifically noted by position.

  1. Teaching and Instructional Professionals - Professors, Instructors, Adjunct Faculty, etc.
    • Criminal background check is required for these positions which also includes a Social Security number trace. Human Resources will coordinate the criminal background check with the assistance of a third party vendor. Verification of educational and professional credentials and prior employment is required. These verifications will be completed by the hiring manager/department chair or search committee.
  2. Campus Health Care Personnel
    • Criminal background check is required for these positons which also includes a Social Security number trace. Human Resources will coordinate the criminal background check with the assistance of a third party vendor. Verification of educational and professional credentials and prior employment is required. These verifications will be completed by the hiring manager or search committee.
  3. Mental Health Counselors and Pastoral Counselors
    • Criminal background check is required for these positons which also includes a Social Security number trace. Human Resources will coordinate the criminal background check with the assistance of a third party vendor. Verification of educational and professional license credentials and prior employment is required. These verifications will be completed by the hiring manager or search committee.
  4. Athletic Trainers
    • Criminal background check is required for these positons which also includes a Social Security number trace. Human Resources will coordinate the criminal background check with the assistance of a third party vendor. Verification of educational and professional license credentials and prior employment is required. These verifications will be completed by the hiring manager or search committee.
  5. Faculty, Staff, Coaches, Students and Volunteers Affiliated with an Educational, Athletic or Camp Programs for Children
    • For faculty, staff, including coaches and students, and volunteers affiliated with sports programs, child care programs and camps for children or any other Ohio Wesleyan University program where any unsupervised direct contact with a minor is anticipated, a criminal background check and Social Security number trace is required. Human Resources will coordinate the criminal background check with the assistance of a third party vendor. (This provision does not apply to those who may have incidental and supervised contact with minor children in the course and scope of their duties.)
  6. Residential Life Coordinators/Staff, Public Safety/Security Personnel and Other Employees with Access to Residence Halls
    • Individuals who have key access or access to keys of a residence hall or other significant buildings on campus shall be subject to a criminal background check which also includes a Social Security trace. Human Resources will coordinate the criminal background check with the assistance of a third party vendor. These positions also require verification of prior employment which will be completed by the hiring manager or search committee.
  7. Employees and Their Spouses and Domestic Partners Who Live on Campus, or Other Residential Guests
    • Employees who live on campus, as well as their spouses, domestic partners, or other residential guests shall be subject to a criminal background check which also includes a Social Security trace. Human Resources will coordinate the criminal background check with the assistance of a third party vendor.
  8. Finance, Accounting, Human Resources and Information Technology Employees
    • Criminal background check is required for these positons which also includes a Social Security number trace. Human Resources will coordinate the criminal background check with the assistance of a third party vendor. Verification of educational and professional credentials and prior employment is required. These verifications will be completed by the hiring manager or search committee.
    • Those with unsupervised or high level access to Ohio Wesleyan University’s financial accounts, lines of credit, cash, checks, credit card information, or other sensitive financial or personal information shall be subject to a credit history check. The credit history report shall include a check of any civil lawsuits. Human Resources will coordinate the criminal background check and credit check, if applicable, with the assistance of a third party vendor.
  9. All Other Regular Full-time and Part-time Staff Employees and Certain Temporary and Seasonal Employees not Specifically Identified Above
    • Criminal background check is required for these positons which also includes a Social Security number trace. Human Resources will coordinate the criminal background check with the assistance of a third party vendor. Verification of educational and professional credentials and prior employment is required for regular full-time and part-time staff employees. These verifications will be completed by the hiring manager or search committee. Background check requirements for temporary and seasonal staff employees will be determined on a position by position basis.
  10. Institution-Approved Drivers: Employees, Students and Volunteers
    • Individuals in these positions shall be subject to any background checks applicable to their position. In addition, any individual who has a responsibility for operating a motor vehicle on behalf of the institution shall be required to submit a current driving history. This includes individuals whose operation of a motor vehicle is incidental to their duties, such as professors who drive students on a field trip. These individuals shall have a continuing duty to provide the institution with any new information regarding their driving history or license status. These requirements apply to individuals who operate institutional vehicles and those individuals who use their personal vehicle or a rented vehicle for institutional business.

Recruitment Process

  1. Position Offer
    • When verbally making an offer of employment to the successful candidate, the candidate must be informed the offer is contingent upon the successful results of a background check. Written offers will include the following statement: “This offer of employment is contingent on Ohio Wesleyan University’s verification of information required by state law and Ohio Wesleyan University’s policies, including the completion of a background check. Offers will be withdrawn or employment terminated if the results include negative or questionable information about your qualifications for employment or ability to perform the position.”
    • In the event the offer letter omits this statement, it is still the policy of Ohio Wesleyan University to require background checks in accordance with this Policy.
  2. Consent Form
    • Where required by law, before Ohio Wesleyan University requests a criminal background check, a credit history report or other search by a third party, the candidate must authorize the background check by signing a consent form that complies with Ohio law and the Fair Credit Reporting Act. This form is generally provided by the vendor who is conducting the check. Individuals who decline to sign the consent form will no longer be considered candidates for employment.
  3. Substantial Relationship Consideration
    • In reviewing the results of a background check on an individual candidate, Ohio Wesleyan University will review each candidate on a case-by-case basis and consider the following factors in order to determine whether there is a substantial relationship between any issues raised by the background check and the position:
    • The Offense. The nature, severity and intentionality of the offense(s) including but not limited to:
      • The reported elements of the offense;
      • The individual’s age at the time of the offense(s);
      • Number and type of offenses (felony, misdemeanor, traffic, other);
      • Time elapsed;
      • The individual’s probation or parole status;
      • Whether the circumstances arose out of an employment situation; and
      • Whether there is a pattern of offenses.
    • The Position. The duties, responsibilities and circumstances of the position applied for, including but not limited to:
      • The nature and scope of the position, including key access to residential facilities, key access to other facilities, access to vulnerable populations, including minor children or the need to operate a vehicle in the course and scope of employment;
      • The nature and scope of the position’s student, public or other interpersonal contact;
      • The nature and scope of the position’s autonomy and discretionary authority;
      • The amount and type of supervision received in the position or provided to subordinate staff;
      • The sensitive nature of the data or records maintained or to which the position has access;
      • The opportunity presented for the commission or additional offenses; and
      • The extent to which acceptable job performance requires the trust and confidence of the employer, Ohio Wesleyan University or the public.
  4. Notification of Results of Check
    • When the background check indicates there are no issues, the third party vendor will inform the Human Resources office or designee of the request, who in turn will inform the hiring manager or designee that the employment offer is confirmed.
    • If the background check indicates there are issues that require further review and consideration under this Policy and which may result in an adverse action, the third party vendor will inform the Human Resources office. Where required, the Human Resource office will provide a copy of the report to the individual in compliance with Ohio law and the FCRA and will also provide a copy of “A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act,” as required by the FCRA and provided by the third party vendor.
    • If a criminal background check reveals convictions the Human Resource office will determine the next course of action when state law or Ohio Wesleyan University policy disqualifies the candidate. When state law or Ohio Wesleyan University policy provides for discretion, the Human Resource office will review the report with the hiring department and the applicable Senior Leadership Team Member and jointly evaluate each conviction in accordance with the factors set forth in Section III.C.3 Substantial Relationship Considerations, including any additional information the individual provides, before the offer of employment is confirmed or withdrawn. Any decision to accept or reject an individual with a criminal conviction is solely at the discretion of Ohio Wesleyan University.
  5. Adverse Action Notification
    • In the event that the results of the background check influences a decision to withdraw an employment offer or terminate employment and the timeframe for disputing the information as inaccurate has passed, the Human Resources office will inform the hiring manager and the individual. The Office of Human Resources or designee will contact the candidate to inform them that Ohio Wesleyan University is rescinding its contingent offer of employment. The candidate will then receive written notification and a summary of the candidate’s rights under FCRA and Ohio law. The candidate will be given the opportunity to review a copy of the report, which outlines candidate’s rights to dispute inaccurate information. If Ohio Wesleyan University has requested an investigative consumer report, the third party vendor shall also provide Ohio Wesleyan University with any additional required notices to be provided to the candidate.