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Week of June 10, 2013

University expands use of pre-employment background checks

The university is expanding the practice of conducting pre-employment background checks under a new Standard Practice Guide that took effect last week.

Pre-employment background checks now must be conducted before a candidate may be appointed to any faculty or staff position. The university has long conducted background checks for campus staff positions, certain academic positions and for all faculty and staff positions in the Health System.

SPG 201.95 has been approved by Provost Martha E. Pollack and Associate Vice President for Human Resources Laurita Thomas. The policy went into effect June 1.

The pre-employment background checks will include a criminal conviction check and verification of the highest academic degree disclosed by the candidate. Additional verifications may be included based on the position.

“It is important that the university’s academic, research, patient care and service missions are supported by qualified employees with a safe and secure environment for all,” Pollack and Thomas wrote in an email message to university deans, directors and department heads. “One way to accomplish this is through the use of background checks for new members of our work force.”

Under provisions of the SPG, “background check” is defined, at minimum, to mean a pre-employment review of the individual’s criminal conviction history and verification of the individual’s academic credentials. The policy applies to all full-time, part-time and temporary faculty and staff.

The university will continue to work with an outside vendor to perform the background checks. In the past year, the university conducted pre-employment background checks on about 6,000 individuals. The new policy is expected to increase that number.

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