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Background Checks

Introduction

In March 2005, pre-employment screening polices were implemented by the Arizona Board of Regents to create a safe and secure workplace and to ensure that employees at the three Arizona state Universities are qualified for the positions for which they are hired. As a result, pre-employment screening is now required of every finalist, which includes verification of academic credentials, work history and licenses. From March 2005 to June 2006, name-based criminal background checks were conducted on finalists in security- or safety-sensitive positions.

Effective August 1, 2006, the University of Arizona Pre-Employment Screening Policy was amended to comply with Arizona Revised Statute 15-1649, which requires finalists hired into security- or safety-sensitive positions to undergo a fingerprint-based criminal background check. All other finalists in non-security- or safety-sensitive positions must undergo a name-based criminal background check. Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) checks are conducted in conjunction with both criminal background checks.

The hiring department is responsible for the cost associated with this service. The finalist for a security- or safety-sensitive position will be required to pay between $5.00 to $12.00 to have their fingerprints rolled by the University of Arizona Police Department or other law enforcement agency or private vendor. Departments are responsible for conducting their own standard pre-employment screening (academic credentials, employment history and licensure).


Department Billing Rates

The Division of Human Resources implemented new rates for criminal record background checks and Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) checks, effective for background checks initiated on or after January 1, 2017. The approved department billing rates for 2017 are as follows:

Name of Service

2017 Approved Rate

Fingerprint Based Criminal Record Check and MVR

$68

Name-Based Criminal Record Check and MVR

$80

Dual Check:  Fingerprint, Name-Based and MVR

$144

MVR Only

$57

International*

$199

*An additional rate charge for an international check will apply if the finalist has an international history.

Human Resources must receive a complete request from the department and complete documentation from the finalist before a check can be initiated.


Other Types of Pre-Employment Checks (Department)

Under Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) policy 6-709, University departments are responsible for ensuring that a Standard Pre-Employment Screening is conducted on all temporary and regular appointed and classified staff new hires. This includes verification of education credentials, professional licenses and work history.

Departments may conduct their own standard pre-employment screening or use an approved University vendor. When a vendor is used to conduct the basic pre-employment screening checks, departments are advised to also conduct their own professional reference checks since relevant job performance questions are not easily standardized and hiring authorities are in the best position to evaluate the reference information collected.

Verifying Academic/Educational Credentials

In some cases, you can verify the highest (terminal) degree of final candidates by contacting the registrar or admissions offices of the applicable university or college. Some universities have a dedicated office available to assist with degree checks.

You may also find the web-based Degreecheck.com service to be helpful. Applicable rates and a complete list of 70+ participating schools are available at degreechk.com.

Viewing Job Performance Records of UA Finalist

Authorized personnel may view performance evaluations and other job performance-related documents for the purpose of evaluating the suitability of a finalist for a new position by contacting the Human Resources Records Management unit at 621-5970. Access to employee job performance records will only be granted to the hiring authority or a member of the search committee.

Verifying Professional Licenses and Certifications

If a position requires a specific professional or technical license such as a licensed practical nurse, contact the responsible licensing board (local or national) to verify that the candidate has a current and valid license.

Conducting Reference Checks

The best-informed hiring decisions encompass vigorous reference checking in order to achieve best-fit selection and to minimize liability for negligent hiring. It is recommended that the hiring department check the professional references of all relevant positions listed on the application or resume including the work dates and job titles of candidates.

Below are some quick guidelines for conducting reference checks. More information can be found in the Guide to Successful Searches.

  1. Comply with all federal and state laws and regulations.
  2. Verify that the finalist has consented to reference checking.
  3. Identify the relevant references to contact, not necessarily the references the finalist would prefer to have contacted. For maximum objectivity, obtain several references from a cross-section of current and former supervisors, peers, direct reports and customers.
  4. Inform the finalist when you are ready to begin reference checking.
  5. Conduct the reference check by phone or in person.
  6. Plan and ask the same behavior-based and job-related questions of all finalists.
  7. Do not accept “off the record” statements; ask for another reference who can speak to the issue on the record.
  8. Ask the contacted reference for names of other collateral references who also know the work record of the finalist.
  9. Evaluate the information collected that is relevant to qualifications.
  10. Maintain confidentiality. The gathered information is privy to the selection committee and is to be used only for recruitment purposes. Wherever possible, reference checks should be conducted by the hiring supervisor.
  11. Document all contacts and relevant information received and retain them in the departmental search file for three years.

Using a Vendor to Conduct Standard Pre-Employment Screening

  1. Send or fax the Candidate Consent and Disclosure Form to the finalist. Instruct the finalist to send the original signed form to Human Resources for the criminal background check and forward a copy to the departmental representative to assist with pre-employment screening activities.
  2. Access Sterling Testing Services on-line system at sterlingtesting.com. Contact Sterling at 1-800-899-2272 if you are establishing an account for the first time.
  3. Check the appropriate boxes to indicate the services you are requesting (education, license, work history, CDL or DMV check. The vendor will bill your department directly for each type of verification requested.
  4. Fax a copy of the Candidate Consent and Disclosure Form to Sterling Testing Services at (212) 736-0683.

Assessing Standard Pre-Employment Screening Information

  • Hiring departments will have direct on-line access to the standard pre-employment report information provided by the vendor. An email notification will be sent to the department when the report is ready for review or you can log directly into the system to access the standard pre-employment reports.
  • If information received from the pre-employment screening report is satisfactory and the finalist is eligible for hire based on criminal background, Department of Motor Vehicle and Commercial Driver’s License results, extend the job offer to the finalist and process hiring documents as usual.
  • If adverse or inaccurate information identified in the standard pre-employment screening report provided by the vendor will be used to disqualify the finalist from consideration, contact Human Resources to initiate notification to the candidate as required under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. (See Adverse Action Procedures)

Criminal Background and MVD Checks (HR)

Name-Based Criminal Checks for Non-Security- or Safety-Sensitive Positions

Under Arizona Revised Statute 15-1649 and The University of Arizona’s Pre-Employment Screening Policy 103.1, the finalist for positions not designated as security or safety-sensitive will be subject to a name-based criminal background check. Employment is contingent upon the satisfactory outcome of the criminal background check.

Name-based criminal background checks shall be conducted on outside finalists for new positions as well as individuals currently employed by the University who are hired, transferred, promoted, or reclassified into a non-security- or safety-sensitive position. A Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) check will also be conducted in conjunction with the criminal background check.

When a finalist for a change of position (such as transfer, reassignment, or reclassification), or a finalist previously employed by the University has had a name-based or fingerprint-based criminal background check within the past twelve months, Human Resources may exempt the department from conducting a duplicate check at the time of the internal change or rehire.

Regular and graduate student employees, affiliates, associates and volunteers are not subject to criminal background checks unless they are performing in a security- or safety-sensitive position.

Obtaining Candidate Consent and Authorization

Applicants authorize the University to conduct pre-employment screening when they certify their information on the UA Careers application form. If an institution or individual requires written consent in order to verify reference information, the department can provide a copy of the certification page of the application or request that the candidate send the department a copy of their completed "Pre-employment Consent and Disclosure Form."

Name-based Criminal Background Check Procedures

  1. When completing the on-line UA Careers job requisition, the hiring department shall indicate on the job requisition that a name-based criminal background check is required.
  2. When a finalist accepts the job offer, the finalist shall receive and sign a letter of offer that includes a statement that reads, “employment is contingent upon the successful outcome of all pre-employment screening and criminal background checks”.
  3. New employees are also required to sign and complete the “Notification of Policies” form located in the new employee packet, which also includes criminal background checking requirements.
  4. After a finalist accepts a job offer, the hiring department shall change the finalists’ status designation from “Interviewed” to “Offer Accepted - Initiate Background Check” in the UACareers system. This will generate a notification to Human Resources to begin the name-based criminal background and DMV check.
  5. Upon change of the UA Careers status by the hiring department, Human Resources will generate an email or contact the finalist by phone to notify him/her to complete the on-line consent and disclosure form.
  6. Human Resources will then submit a request for a criminal background check to the approved vendor.
  7. The department will be notified by email when the criminal check has been initiated and will be provided instructions about payment method.
  8. The vendor will conduct a background check of DMV, SSN, sexual offender and criminal conviction records. The average turnaround time is two or three business days.
  9. Human Resources will receive the results of the criminal background and DMV records check and will notify the hiring department as described below.
    1. No Relevant Adverse Information Uncovered
      If the information received from the criminal and DMV records does not indicate a need for adverse employment action, the hiring department will receive an email notification that the finalist is eligible for hire. The hiring department shall forward the appropriate hiring documents to Human Resources or the Office of the Provost (as applicable) for processing. (If there is an urgent need to begin the hiring process, departments may submit new hire documents in advance if the consent and disclosure form has been received by Human Resources.)
    2. Adverse Information Uncovered
      If relevant adverse information is confirmed, Human Resources will contact the dean, director or department head to determine if adverse information could disqualify the finalist from further consideration. Human Resources will also notify the finalist of their right to review the report information and submit an appeal as provided under the Fair Credit Reporting Act
      If the finalist is not eligible for hire, Human Resources will notify the department as to action to be taken and advise the department about selecting another candidate or reposting the position as appropriate.

Assessing Criminal Conviction Information

Evidence of criminal convictions or other adverse information will not automatically disqualify a finalist from consideration. When considering whether to employ an individual with a criminal history, Human Resources may confer with the hiring authority to determine if the information will disqualify the finalist for employment. Considerations include relevance of a criminal conviction to the job duties to be performed, the nature and seriousness of the offense, the finalist’s work history since the conviction, the date of the most recent offense and the truthfulness of the information provided by the finalist.


Fingerprint-Based Criminal Background Checks for Security- or Safety-Sensitive Positions

Under Arizona Revised Statute 15-1649 and University policy, the finalist for a designated security- or safety-sensitive position, or a finalist discloses that they have been convicted of a felony, shall submit a full set of fingerprints to the University for the purpose of obtaining a state and federal criminal records check. Employment is contingent upon the satisfactory outcome of the criminal background check.

Fingerprint-based criminal background checks shall be conducted on outside finalists for new positions as well as individuals currently employed by the University who are hired, promoted, reclassified or transferred into a security- or safety-sensitive position at The University of Arizona. A Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) check will also be conducted in conjunction with criminal background checks.

When a finalist for a change of position (such as reclassification, promotion, transfer or other similar change) or a finalist previously employed by the University has had a fingerprint-based criminal background check in the previous twelve months, Human Resources may exempt the department from conducting a duplicate check at the time of the internal change or rehire.

Regular and graduate student employees, affiliates, associates and volunteers in security- or safety-sensitive positions or departments shall also be subject to a fingerprint-based criminal background check.

Security- or Safety-Sensitive positions include:

  • senior level administrators (president, provost, vice provost, deans, vice presidents, assistant and associate vice provosts, vice presidents and deans, department heads and department directors, including interim and acting);
  • business managers, business manager, seniors, and other senior level finance and business-related financial administrative positions;
  • positions with unsupervised contact with minors not enrolled at The University of Arizona;
  • positions with direct access to select biological/biochemical agents, as defined by the USA Patriot Act of 2001;
  • positions with unrestricted access to residence hall private rooms;
  • positions with direct patient care;
  • any finalist who discloses a prior felony conviction in the pre-employment screening process;
  • other positions requested by a dean or vice president to be designated as “security- or safety-sensitive”. (See Request Form)

Fingerprint-Based Criminal Background Check Procedures

  1. The hiring department shall indicate on the job requisition that the position is designated as “security- or safety-sensitive” when completing the on-line UACareers job requisition (based on job title, department, or job duties performed by the finalist).
  2. When a finalist accepts the job offer, the finalist shall receive and sign a letter of offer that includes the statement that “employment is contingent upon the successful outcome of all pre-employment screening and criminal background checks”.
  3. New employees are also required to sign and complete the “Notification of Policies” form located in the new employee packet, which includes criminal background check requirements.
  4. After a finalist accepts a job offer, the hiring department shall change the finalist’s status designation from “Interviewed” to “Offer Accepted - Initiate Background Check” in the UACareers job requisition. This will generate a notification to Human Resources to begin the fingerprint criminal background and DMV check.
  5. Human Resources will forward a fingerprint packet to the candidate that includes the consent and disclosure form, a fingerprint instruction sheet, a fingerprint card, and an Human Resources self-addressed envelope. The instructions direct the finalist to hand-carry or mail the completed consent form and fingerprint card to Human Resources. (It is not necessary to give a consent and Disclosure form directly to the candidate, because a consent form is included in the fingerprint packet).
  6. Upon receipt of the fingerprint card and consent form, Human Resources shall forward the finalist’s fingerprint card and accompanying documents to the Arizona Department of Public Service (DPS) and submit a separate request for a DMV check with the University vendor or the UA Department of Risk Management and Safety.
  7. DPS shall conduct a state-wide criminal background check and forward the finalist’s fingerprints to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) for a federal criminal background check. Total turnaround time is generally ten (10) business days.
  8. Human Resources will receive the results of the state and federal criminal background records check and DMV results and will notify the hiring department as described below.
    1. No Relevant Adverse Information Uncovered
      ​If information received from the criminal and DMV records do not indicate a need for adverse employment action, the hiring department will receive an email notification that the finalist is eligible for hire. The hiring department shall forward the appropriate hiring documents to Human Resources or the Office of the Provost (as applicable) for processing. (If there is an urgent need to begin the hiring process, departments may submit new hire documents in advance if the consent and disclosure form and fingerprint card have been received by Human Resources).
    2. Adverse Information Uncovered
      If relevant adverse information is confirmed, Human Resources will contact the dean, director or department head to determine if adverse information could disqualify the finalist from further consideration. Human Resources will also notify the finalist of their right to review the report information and submit an appeal as provided under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. If the finalist is not eligible for hire, Human Resources will notify the department as to action to be taken and advise the department about selecting another candidate or re-posting the position as appropriate.

Assessing Criminal Conviction Information

Evidence of criminal convictions or other adverse information will not automatically disqualify a finalist from consideration. When considering whether to employ an individual with a criminal history, Human Resources may confer with the hiring authority to determine if the information will disqualify the finalist for employment. Considerations include relevance of a criminal conviction to the job duties to be performed, the nature and seriousness of the offense, the finalist’s work history since the conviction, the date of the most recent offense and the truthfulness of the information provided by the finalist.


Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) Checks

Under Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) policy 6-709 and University policy, a Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) report must be obtained when an employee is authorized to use a University or private motor vehicle to conduct University business.

DMV checks will be conducted on the finalist for all temporary and regular classified and appointed personnel positions in conjunction with criminal background check activities.

DMV checks will also be conducted on student employees, graduate employees, affiliates, associates or other volunteers whose job duties include driving on University business or whom are performing in security- or safety-sensitive positions. Departments may use the approved UA vendor to conduct DMV checks or submit a request to Human Resources by submitting the online request for background check form.

DMV checks shall be conducted based on the guidelines below:

  • Arizona Driver License: If the finalist has resided in Arizona for three years or longer and possesses a current Arizona Driver license, a check of the finalist’s Arizona driving record will be conducted.
  • Out-of-State License: If the finalist currently resides out of state and/or has not possessed an Arizona Driver license for three years, a check of the finalist’s prior driving record will be conducted.
  • Notification: Upon receipt of DMV report, Human Resources will notify the hiring department regarding any driving restrictions required of the finalist.

Criminal Background Checks for Non-competitive Hires

In order to ensure employment practices at the University are consistent, fair and aligned with pre-employment screening requirements, all non-competitive positions must be posted in the University’s UACareers applicant system.

Non-competitive Hire Criminal Background Check Procedures

  1. After the non-competitive position is posted, the department will receive an email message containing the internet link to the assigned job posting.
  2. The department shall forward the email with the address and link to the selected finalist so that the finalist can complete the on-line application.
  3. After the finalist has completed the application, the department shall change the status of the finalist to “Offer Accepted – Initiate Criminal Background Check. “ This will generate a notification to Human Resources to conduct a criminal background and Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) check.
  4. Depending on whether or not the position requires a name-based or fingerprint-based check, Human Resources will notify the finalist as to the next steps for completing the criminal background check.
  5. Human Resources will receive the results of the criminal background and DMV records check and will notify the department representative if the individual is eligible for hire.
  6. If relevant adverse information is confirmed, Human Resources will contact the dean, director or department head to determine if adverse information will disqualify the finalist from further consideration. Human Resources will also notify the finalist of their right to review the report information and submit an appeal as provided under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Criminal Background Checks for Transfers, Reclassifications and Reassignments

An employee who accepts a new or additional position in another department is subject to a criminal background check equivalent to the requirements of the new position.

An employee who accepts a promotion, new assignment, or reclassification in their home department is subject to a criminal background check equivalent to the requirements of the new position unless an equivalent criminal background check was conducted at the time of hire or as a result of a prior reclassification, promotion or reassignment action within the same department.

An employee who performs security- or safety-sensitive duties as a result of the addition of new job responsibilities, shall be subject to a fingerprint-based criminal check unless the employee previously underwent a fingerprint-based criminal background check in the same department.


Criminal Background Checks for Student Employees, Graduate Assistants, Volunteers, Affiliates and Associates

Individuals such as regular and graduate student employees, affiliates, associates and volunteers are not subject to a criminal background check unless they are performing in security- or safety-sensitive positions or work in a security- or safety-sensitive department.

Department representatives should work with the hiring authority to determine when student employees, volunteers and unpaid employees are performing security- or safety-sensitive duties such as those involving unsupervised contact with minors.

Request a Criminal Background Check for Student Employees, Graduate Assistants, Volunteers, Affiliates and Associates

  1. To request a fingerprint-based criminal check for security- or safety-sensitive positions that are not maintained in the UACareers system, submit an on-line “Request Criminal Background Check Form” to Human Resources.
    Note: Access to the on-line background check request form is currently limited to departmental representatives with access to similar secure sites such as the FML calculator. Contact Human Resources 626-0715 to request access.
  2. Human Resources will forward a fingerprint packet to the candidate that includes the consent and disclosure form, a fingerprint instruction sheet, a fingerprint card, and a Human Resources self-addressed envelope. The instructions direct the finalist to hand-carry or mail the consent form and fingerprint card to Human Resources. The finalist may also come in person to Human Resources at the University Services Building, Room 114, to pick up their fingerprint packet if Human Resources is notified in advance.
  3. Upon receipt of the fingerprint card and consent form, Human Resources shall forward the finalist’s fingerprint card and accompanying documents to the Arizona Department of Public Service (DPS) and will submit a separate request for a Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) check with the approved vendor or the UA Department of the department of Risk Management and Safety.
  4. Human Resources will receive the results of the criminal background and DMV records check and will notify the department when the individual is eligible for hire.
  5. Human Resources will contact the appropriate hiring authority if any adverse information uncovered might preclude the student, volunteer, affiliate or associate from performing duties on behalf of the institution.

 

Adverse Action Notification Procedures

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), employers are required to take certain actions whenever they obtain a consumer report on a job applicant or employee. All background screening reports produced by outside vendors are classified as consumer reports and FCRA requirements include notification, certification and action before and after an adverse event.

If a hiring department relies on any part of the information from a pre-employment screening report obtained from an approved vendor to take "adverse action" (such as denying employment or reassigning or terminating an employee), they must contact Human Resources to ensure that appropriate notice will be provided to the finalist.

Before any adverse action is taken

Human Resources will forward a Pre-Adverse Action Notice to the finalist that includes a copy of the consumer report and a copy of "A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act".

The notice provides the candidate an opportunity to challenge the information provided in the report and take steps to correct inaccuracies or provide explanation. A final employment decision shall not be made by the hiring department until new information is gathered and considered or at such time that the finalist fails to respond as required.

When adverse action will be taken

Human Resources will forward an Adverse Action Notice to the finalist and the notice will include:

  • the name, address, and phone number of the Consumer Report Agency (CRA) that supplied the report
  • a statement that the CRA (vendor) supplying the report did not make the decision to take the adverse action and cannot give specific reasons for it; and;
  • a notice of the individual's right to dispute the accuracy or completeness of any information the agency furnished, and his or her right to an additional free consumer report from the agency upon request within 60 days and to dispute with the CRA, the accuracy or completeness of any information in a consumer report furnished by the agency.

Not Hire Notice

The hiring department shall notify the finalist if a job offer will not be extended based on information received through reference checking or other standard pre-employment screening activities conducted by the department.

Human Resources will notify the finalist if a job offer will not be extended as a result of a criminal background check, DMV or other information obtained through the vendor.