Policy on Background Checks

UMES Policy on Background Checks for New Appointments

(Policy is pursuant to USM Board of Regents Policy – Vll-1.15)

Purpose:  To formalize the process for background checks for candidates for hire for any position with the university including all regular faculty and staff appointments,  any contingent (contractual) new hires, and volunteers.

Procedure:  A full background check will be conducted on candidates identified for an offer of employment. The background check will consist of a reference and criminal background check.

  1. Reference Check: The reference check will focus on verification of the most recent employment history of regular faculty, staff, and contingent II category contractual employees. The reference check should include at a minimum the most recent employer and/or cover a span of the last five years or more.
  • The reference check may be conducted by the chair of the committee, department head, or a representative of the Office of Human Resources Management (OHRM), preferably the Employment Manager.
  • Candidates must give permission to speak to the current employer before references are contacted.
  • Reference checks should be applied consistently per the reference check guide established by OHRM. However, modifications to questions may be needed depending on the position.
  • Reference checks are shared with the department head and stored in the Office of Human Resources Management files.
  1. Criminal Background Check– A criminal background check is conducted once a tentative offer of employment is extended and accepted by the candidate. The criminal background check shall be conducted by an Office of Human Resources Management representative such as the Employment Manager through an appropriate Criminal Background Check vendor.
  • The criminal background check is based on personal information contained in the Applicant Disclosure and Authorization Form provided by the vendor. The form grants permission to the university  to conduct a criminal background check. A criminal background check will also be conducted on any volunteers.
  • Adverse information must be discussed with the General Counsel prior to final approval to hire. Adverse Criminal Information which is any information regarding a felony conviction or any major offense other than  minor traffic violation or other misdemeanor may be considered in the recommendation to hire an individual given the nature of employment and the sensitive nature of the position.
  • Convictions older than 10 years will not be considered in the evaluation  of the candidate unless the conviction is for a sex offense or other serious crime of violence for which the candidate has been incarcerated during this time.
  • The Criminal Background check for the Office of Public Safety and the campus child care center will be conducted according to state of Maryland regulations governing sworn police departments and licensed day care centers, respectively. The applicant will be directed to the nearest facility (unless the university has fingerprinting services available) that can take a digital fingerprint and that record will be sent to the various state and federal databases for analysis.
  • Adverse Criminal Information – The General Counsel and the Office of Human Resources Management will receive and determine the importance  of any adverse information revealed through the fingerprint analysis in accord with the applicable state law or regulation.
  • Notification of Candidate- candidates will be notified of any adverse information and will be given an opportunity to verify and reply to this information. Any appeal should be directed to the Director of the Office of Human Resources Management.
  • Confidentiality – All criminal records received by the University will be kept in strict confidence within the Office of Human Resources Management and held on a need to know basis.

Updated 4/14/2021

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