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   Background Investigation Policy

                                                                                    Date Issued: 10/03/2007

 

 


 1.0 Policy

In accordance with Board of Regents policy, the University of West Georgia has crafted the following policy. As part of UWG’s hiring procedures, a background investigation on applicants for full-time, part-time and casual labor employment will be conducted. This is done to ensure that individuals who join the UWG workforce are well qualified, are worthy to hold positions of trust, and have honestly presented their background and qualifications as documented in the application materials.

Offers of employment shall be conditional pending the result of the background investigation, which shall include, at a minimum, the following:

  • A state and federal criminal history check covering a minimum of seven (7) years;
  • Nationwide sex offender search;
  • A social security number check; and
  • For all professional, faculty and academic positions, an academic credentials check.

 Offers of employment for sensitive positions will be conditional pending the result of a state and federal criminal history check covering more than the minimum seven years.  Sensitive positions are those that involve interaction with children, after-hours access to facilities, access to financial resources or student academic records or medical records.

2.0 UWG Standard Background Check

The Office of Human Resources will initiate the UWG standard background check for all staff (including temporary staff) positions and serve as the primary liaison to the background check agencies. The Vice President for Academic Affairs Office will conduct the standard background check for all faculty (full-time, part-time and temporary) positions. The UWG standard background check will consist of the following:

  1. State and Federal Criminal History covering a minimum of seven (7) years.
  2. National Wants/Warrants
  3. State or National Motor Vehicle Records Check* determined by how long applicant has lived in Georgia
  4. Social Security Number verification and trace
  5. Academic Credentials Verification
  6. Professional References
  7. Prior Employment History
  8. Nationwide sex offender search
2.1 State and Federal Criminal Record History

This search will return any criminal offenses occurring in the state of Georgia . This information is retrieved from the Georgia Criminal Information Center database. If the applicant has lived in Georgia less than 7 years, a check will be conducted in those states where applicant has resided, up to the seven year mark. Individuals with a felony on his/her criminal record may be ineligible for employment at UWG (See 5.0 Disqualification of Employment).

2.2 National Wants and Warrants

This search is a nationwide search for any outstanding extraditable warrants in any state. This could include misdemeanors or felonies. Individuals with outstanding wants or warrants may not be eligible for employment at West Georgia.  The University of West Georgia’s Office of Public Safety will conduct this portion of the background investigation.-

2.3 State Motor Vehicle Records Check

Certain positions require the operation of a campus vehicle and equipment, such as a mail delivery van, plant operations maintenance vehicle, media delivery vehicle, etc. The University Of West Georgia Department of Public Safety will run this check on perspective employees. If the applicant has lived in Georgia less than 7 years, the applicant will furnish a clean MVR, not older than 72 hours, from those states where applicant has resided, up to the seven year mark.

It is the responsibility of employees that drive UWG vehicles and equipment to disclose all moving violations received while driving a UWG or a personally owned vehicle to his/her manager with 72 hours. Failure to disclose violations may result in revocation of privilege of driving campus vehicles and equipment which could result in loss of employment depending on the job requirements.

*Due to recent legislation, employers are not authorized to retrieve driver’s information in the state of Georgia . However, the employer can require a clean MVR. The responsibility of providing this document rests with the employee.

2.4 Social Security Number verification and trace

The Office of Human Resources will verify all social security numbers for employees through the Social Security Administration (E-Verify). In order to prevent hiring employees under fraudulent circumstances, this procedure will be conducted on all temporary and regular employees.

2.5 Academic Credentials Verification

In order to maintain the integrity and validity of the employment program and protect the institution from committing a negligent hiring tort, education will be verified for all faculty and staff.

Faculty applicants are required to submit official copies of their transcripts in accordance with the faculty hiring policies. Staff, whose positions require a specified educational level, will submit an official copy of their transcripts prior to being hired. Falsification of education credentials will result in immediate termination of employment or disqualification without right of appeal.

2.6 Professional References

During the hiring process, applicants will submit a list of professional (work) references to the hiring manager or search chair. It is the responsibility of the manager or a designated member of the search committee to contact each of the references.

2.7 Verification of Prior Employment

Verifying employment history is fundamental to establishing the integrity, performance, and work habits of the applicant. The hiring manager or search chair will verify the last three positions held by all finalist candidates. Inconsistencies between the information obtained through verifying employment and the information provided by the applicant may result in disqualification from the applicant pool.

2.8 National Sex Offender Search

This search is a nationwide search for any sexual offenses in any state. This could include misdemeanors or felonies

3.0 UWG Comprehensive Background Investigation

This is an enhanced level of investigation that is applicable to certain positions on campus. All positions classified at the management level and above will undergo the comprehensive background check. Employees with significant fiscal responsibility (financial aid, disbursing checks, accounting and business functions, budgeting, cashier duties, etc.) are subject to this level of investigation as well. Employees responsible for the health and welfare of faculty, staff, & students (providing medical services, such as physical trainers, rehabilitation coordinators, counselors, etc.) are subject to this level of investigation. In accordance with state law, Public Safety conducts the background investigation for the officers and dispatchers in their department. Employees working with sensitive information, such as BANNER, PeopleSoft HRMS or Financials are subject to a comprehensive investigation at the time of hire and on an ongoing basis. Due to the level of responsibility and accountability, the additional areas will be investigated:

  1. Sanctions (Where applicable)
  2. Credit History
3.1 Sanctions (Where applicable)

The Office of the Inspector General and the US General Services Administration impose health care sanctions against individuals who have committed fraud or abuse while working in the health care industry. A health care-related sanction is a legally imposed penalty against a health care worker or health care related industry for non-compliance or disobedience associated with sections 1128 and 1128A of the Social Security Act. The penalty is disbarment and/or exclusion from federally funded health care programs for a period of time for the individual who is found in violation.

For the purposes of this program, all health-care related employees who are licensed as physicians, dentists, registered nurses, etc will be checked for sanctions. Sanctions may result in ineligibility for employment at the University of West Georgia.

3.2 Credit History Report Check

This search will reveal an applicant’s debt load, payment history and any public record information (liens, judgments, bankruptcies) – this information will be assessed to determine their level of responsibility and potential motivation for misuse of funds. Furthermore, this report can confirm subject’s social security number, date of birth, residential addresses, and former employers. As a result, the application data can be confirmed through another medium.

3.2.1 Positions

Positions involving financial responsibility listed in Section 3.0 are subject to a credit history report check.

3.2.2 Fair Credit Reporting Act (FRCA)

If an adverse employment decision is made based on information disclosed on the credit report, the employer is required to notify the applicant in writing as to the reasons why and inform him/her of the necessary procedural rights under the FRCA.

4.0 Release to Check Background

If the applicant does not complete the form, or if the results of the investigation indicate any of the reasons for disqualifications identified in section 5.0 of this policy, an official offer will not be extended, with the approval of the Background Investigation Committee (see section 5).

5.0 Determining Employment Eligibility

An employee or candidate can be disqualified from employment for any of the following reasons:

  1. Conviction of a criminal drug offense. Such conviction shall
    disqualify the person for not less than two years from the most recent date of conviction. Any person convicted of a subsequent criminal drug offense shall be ineligible for employment or re-employment for a period of five years from the most recent date of conviction.
  2. Any false statement of material fact in the application materials.
  3. Membership, past or present, in an organization advocating the
    violent overthrow of the government of the United States .
  4. Conviction of a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude, unless
    pardoned, as per GA law.
  5. Refusing to submit to a criminal records / background check and/or pre-employment drug testing, as required by the position.
  6. Conviction of an act of violence in a previous workplace, even if a misdemeanor.
  7. Police Officers who have been convicted of a “misdemeanor domestic violence” offense.

Background Investigation Committee (BIC)An administrative committee charged with determining questions of suitability of hire.  The committee will have a minimum of three members and not more than five members and include a representative from the institution’s Human Resources office, the applicable Hiring Department (i.e. manager or designee), the institution’s legal advisor (if on campus) and the Public Safety Department. 

For any misdemeanor convictions that were disclosed by the selected candidate in the application materials, the BIC will determine whether the candidate is eligible for the involved position based on the job description and the nature of the crimes for which the candidate was convicted.

6.0 Arrests and Convictions

Any current employee who is charged with a crime (other than a minor traffic offense) shall report being charged with such crime to Human Resources within 72 hours of the employee becoming aware of such charge.  Failure to report being charged with such a crime may result in appropriate disciplinary action, including termination of employment.  Human Resources shall review the nature of the crime and make a determination on what, if any, action should be taken regarding the employee’s employment status until resolution of the charge.

Any current employee who is convicted of a crime (other than a minor traffic offense) shall report such conviction to Human Resources within 24 hours of the conviction.  Failure to report such conviction may result in appropriate disciplinary action, including termination of employment.  The BIC shall review the nature of the crime and make a determination on what, if any, action should be taken regarding the employee’s employment status.  The BIC shall review the crime utilizing the same standards as it applies in reviewing crimes committed by a candidate.

7.0 Recordkeeping of Background Investigation Reports

Background Investigation reports should be delivered directly to Human Resources by the entity performing the investigation.  The report will remain with Human Resources until the determination on employment eligibility has been made and then stored segregated from the employee’s personnel file.  The report itself is not provided to nor maintained by the Hiring Department.

Reports on all non-successful applicants must be discarded in accordance with USG Record Retention Guidelines.

Background investigation reports will be deemed confidential and held for a period of three (3) years after the fact, as detailed in the Records Management policy of the University System of Georgia (USG), Category G (8): Certificates of Eligibility.

8.0 Action upon Notification of Adverse Background Investigation

8.1 Applicants
The Office of Human Resources will contact the hiring manager and his /her supervisor and inform them of candidate ineligibility. The applicant will be notified by the Director of Human Resources by issuing a pre-adverse action disclosure including a copy of the candidate’s background investigation report, the name address and telephone number of the company that conducted the background investigation and a summary of rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
The candidate will be given five working days to provide an explanation in writing of the circumstances surrounding the results of the background investigation, including any mitigating factors, and have this explanation considered prior to the finalization of the hiring decision.
8.2 Investigation of Current Employees

Under ordinary circumstances, post-hiring checks on employees will not be undertaken. The Office of Human Resources will conduct periodic background investigations on those positions of trust and positions listed as critical to the University. Background investigations will also be conducted when a current benefits-eligible employee is transferred or promoted to another position on campus. Examples are listed below:

Faculty

1.      A faculty member being promoted to Department Chair, Director, or other position of trust would require a background investigation.

2.      Faculty being promoted from one rank to the next (Assistant to Associate or Associate to Full Professor), without an administrative assignment would, not require a background investigation.

Staff

1.      A staff member being promoted to a position with an increase in pay grade (signifying higher level of responsibilities) or expanded financial responsibilities would require a background investigation

2.      A staff member making a lateral move to a position that is similar to the former position may not require a background investigation.

Based on the content and requirements of the job and the nature of any offense found, the Office of Human Resources will consult with senior administrators to determine the course of action under this policy.

9.0 Applicant/Employee Rights

If the background investigation was used as a basis for an adverse employment decision (selection, disqualification, etc), the applicant or employee must be notified in writing and be allowed to view the investigation report. The Office of Public Safety provides this service to the applicant/employee.

10.0 Conditional Offers of Employment

The Office of Human Resources verifies the criminal record information provided on the Application for Employment for all finalist candidates. Search committee chairs should contact the Office of Human Resources after the employment decision has been made, but before extending an offer so that his/her verification can be performed. In certain critical or hard-to-fill positions, offers may be extended to applicants on a conditional basis before the background check process is finished. Applicants with an adverse background or criminal records check may be terminated immediately upon receipt of the official results.

11.0 Definitions

Criminal Record
  1. Conviction of a crime (any felony; such as aggravated assault; aggravated
    battery; rape; theft by taking; theft by deception; forgery in the first or
    second degree; murder and felony murder; criminal attempt that concerns
    attempted murder; robbery; armed robbery; or any offense committed in another
    jurisdiction which, if committed in Georgia, would be deemed to be such a crime
    without regard to its designation elsewhere);
  2. Arrest, charge, and sentencing for a crime where: (a) a plea of nolo
    contendere was entered to the charge; (b) first offender treatment without
    adjudication of guilt pursuant to the charge was granted; or (c) adjudication or
    sentence was otherwise withheld or not entered on the charge; or
  3. Arrest and being charged for a crime if the charge is pending, unless the
    time for prosecuting such crime has expired (statute of limitations)
    Position of Trust
Sexual Offenses
  1. Involving violence, threats of violence, or intimidation; and/or
  2. Involving a child under the age of consent.

Background Investigation – An investigation comprised of a criminal background check (including social security number check and, for positions with access to or responsibility for money, a credit check.), confirmation of credentials and confirmation of employment history.

Background Investigation Committee (BIC) – The administrative committee charged with determining questions of suitability of hire.  Each institution of the University System of Georgia shall form such a committee.  It is suggested that such committee have a minimum of three members  and not more than five members and include a representative from the institution’s Hiring Office, the applicable Hiring Department, the institution’s legal advisor (if on campus) and public safety department. 

Consent Form – A form authorizing the institution to conduct a criminal background check.  All employment finalists and promotion candidates at the institution are required to sign a Consent Form to be considered for employment with the University.

Hiring Department – The department hiring a new employee (whether internally or externally), or promoting an existing employee.

Moral Turpitude

Courts in Georgia have found that moral turpitude “includes everything contrary to justice, honesty, modesty or good morals.”  In determining whether a crime is one that involves moral turpitude, the courts have applied the following test:  does the crime, disregarding its punishment, meet the test as being contrary to justice, honesty, modesty, good morals or man’s duty to man?

The following are some crimes involving moral turpitude:

  • Fraud or false pretenses in obtaining something of value
  • Larceny or a misdemeanor theft by taking
  • Larceny after trust
  • Murder
  • Soliciting for prostitutes
  • Voluntary manslaughter
  • Sale of narcotics or other illegal drugs
  • Pattern of failure to file federal tax returns in years in which taxes are due
  • Criminal issuance of a bad check
  • Making a false report of a crime

The following have been held to be not crimes involving moral turpitude:

  • Public drunkenness
  • Driving under the influence
  • Carrying a concealed weapon
  • Unlawful sale of liquor
  • Fighting
  • Simple Battery
  • Simple Assault
  • Misdemeanor criminal trespass
  • Child abandonment
  • Misdemeanor offense of escape
  • Misdemeanor offense of obstructing a law enforcement officer
  • Possession of less than one ounce of marijuana

Department of Human Resources | Office Hours: 8:00am-5:00pm | Phone: 678-839-6403 | Fax: 678-839-6425 | . |

Last Modified: 10/5/2007