Criminal, Credit and Related Background Checks on Applicants for University Positions

Last Updated: 
Effective Date: 
Policy Statement: 

The university will conduct criminal, credit and related background checks on finalists for designated positions as necessary to ensure a safe and secure work environment in which university faculty, staff, students, resources and assets are protected. In addition to the background checks described here, reference checks on employment history and other checks will also be conducted as appropriate. Note: the criminal background checks covered by this policy do not include nationwide fingerprint-based criminal records checks.

The University of Oregon, Office of Human Resources will be responsible for administering, interpreting, and maintaining this policy. Questions regarding this policy should be directed to the Director of Talent Acquisition and Development, Human Resources, 677 East 12th Avenue (PeaceHealth North Building), Eugene, OR 97403.

This policy will apply to finalists for job searches conducted after August 1, 2008 on:

  • Applicants for designated positions in unclassified, classified, graduate teaching fellow, and student employment; volunteers.
  • Current employees applying for internal promotion or transfer to designated positions. (See SEIU Collective Bargaining Agreement, LOA "Criminal Background Checks Policy Implementation" for classified employees.)

Types of background checks and designated positions:
Criminal background checks will be conducted to ensure that the candidate does not have relevant criminal convictions that would make him or her unsuitable or ineligible to perform the responsibilities of a specific position. A conviction includes a plea of no contest, plea of guilty, or court determination of guilt.

Criminal background checks will be conducted for positions that include the following access and/or with the following responsibilities:

  • Unsupervised access to children (does not include university students under 18) and vulnerable adults (persons 18 years of age or older who have substantial mental or functional impairments and are unable to protect themselves).
  • Access to computer infrastructure, systems or applications that have data deemed to be sensitive, as well as anyone involved in providing computer security services;
  • Broad and extensive access to personally identifying information about students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, or research subjects;
  • Direct access to and handling of cash and cash equivalents (i.e., checks, credit card receipts, negotiable securities);
  • Ability to modify business or financial records after transactions have been processed through regular approval queues and/or review processes;
  • Public safety and campus security;
  • Unrestricted access to building master keys, security systems or areas where people have reasonable expectation of privacy;
  • Direct access to controlled substances and potentially hazardous chemicals; and
  • Access to animal research facilities.

Credit background checks will be conducted to ensure that the candidate's background has no financial irregularities that would make the individual unsuitable or ineligible to perform the responsibilities of a specific position. (Note: Federal law prohibits discrimination as a result of bankruptcy.) Credit background checks will be conducted as appropriate for positions with the following responsibilities:

  • Broad and extensive access to personally identifying information about students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, or research subjects;
  • Direct access to and handling of cash and cash equivalents (i.e., checks, credit card receipts, negotiable securities);
  • Public safety and campus security.

Designated positions:
The Associate Vice President (AVP) for Human Resources, the Assistant Director of Human Resources, or the Human Resources Employment Manager, will designate those positions requiring criminal and/or credit background checks, using the criteria described above and in consultation with the hiring supervisor. The designation will be applied after reviewing specific job duties and requirements and, in most cases, will not be applied generally to all jobs in a classification or employment category. This process will apply to both criminal and credit background checks.

Determination of relevance of criminal and credit background information: Not all criminal convictions or financial problems will preclude applicants from university employment. The criminal and/or credit background report(s) will be reviewed for the type of offense (if any) and its relevance to the position and a determination made if the information received in the background check disqualifies the candidate from that specific job. This decision will be made by at least two of the following: the AVP for Human Resources, the Assistant Human Resources Director, and/or the Employment Manager in consultation with the hiring supervisor. In addition, staff in the Department of Public Safety, Business Affairs Office, and/or Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity may be consulted.

An unsuccessful finalist will be informed that he/she is not eligible to fill the position based on the unsatisfactory results of a check and notified of the appeal process.

Position posting notification and release authorization:
Recruitment announcements and job postings for positions designated as requiring one or more background check will include a standard statement notifying potential applicants of the intent to conduct a criminal and/or credit background check(s).

A finalist for a position requiring criminal and/or credit background check(s) must sign the university release authorization form. The release form will inform the applicant that criminal convictions do not necessarily preclude employment. In addition, the release form will provide the finalist a summary of rights, including the right of access to credit and/or criminal background check(s) information and a description of the appeal process.

As part of the recruitment process, applicants will be informed of the university policy on confidential handling of documents related to background checks.

Confidentiality and restricted access to records:
Information received from criminal and credit background checks will be considered sensitive and disclosure will be restricted. Files pertaining to background checks will be maintained in Human Resources.

Appeal Process:
Applicants who are denied employment based on unsatisfactory results will receive notification of rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, including his/her right to review the results and obtain information about contacting agencies that provided the background check(s) results.

Unsuccessful applicants will also be given the opportunity to submit a statement in writing to the AVP for Human Resources describing how the information in the report is incorrect or irrelevant to the position in question. In consultation with the appropriate vice president or designee, the AVP will make the final determination of the appeal.

Legally mandated checks:
Some university positions carry legally mandated background check requirements imposed by outside entities. The university will ensure that these checks are conducted for those engaged to work in these positions, which include, but are not limited to, the following programs:

  • Child care centers;
  • Programs that work with children (e.g., Youth Enrichment/TAG, Psychology research labs working with minors, and Child and Family Center); and
  • Communication Disorders and Sciences
  • Programs that involve work requiring background checks by federal or state agencies such as Homeland Security, Drug Enforcement Agency, or the Nuclear Regulatory Agency.
Issued by: 
Vice President for Finance and Administration
Revision History: 

04 November 2010 - Reviewed by HR; no changes needed.

08 February 2010 - Policy number revised from 3.110 to 03.09.01

30 September 2008 - Reviewed and Approved by the university president's staff

Original Source: 
UO Policy Statement