4.15.2 Criminal Background Check

A. Purpose

The University of Texas at Tyler is committed to promoting the safety and security of personnel and UT Tyler property consistent with the requirements of the law. To that end, it is the policy of UT Tyler to require that a criminal background check be performed for employment at UT Tyler. To that end, this policy sets forth requirements for criminal background checks in employment decisions.

B. Authority/Persons Affected

All full and part-­time permanent (i.e. not temporary) employees at UT Tyler, including prospective employees.

C. Definitions

Applicant ­- an individual who applies for a position with UT Tyler, whether the individual is an outside candidate or a current employee.

Criminal Conviction Record Information ­- public information maintained by the Department of Public Safety, as provided in Texas Government Code Section 411.135.

Criminal History Record Information ­- information collected about a person by a criminal justice agency that consists of identifiable descriptions and notations of arrests, detentions, indictments, information, and other formal criminal charges and their dispositions, as more fully described in Texas Government Code Section 411.082.

National Criminal History Record Check (NCHRC) ­- a criminal history record check obtained from both the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Federal Bureau of Investigation based on fingerprint identification information, or a criminal record check obtained from a private vendor based on national criminal records.

Position ­- both full­time and part­time positions, whether the position is filled or to be filled by a regular or a temporary worker or requires student status as a condition of holding the position, but not including a position filled by a temporary worker provided by a temporary employment agency; the employment agency should be expected to conduct and held responsible for conducting the criminal background check.

D. Policy and Procedures

This policy and procedure addresses criminal background checks only and does not limit the University’s authority to conduct other background checks as permitted by law.

  1.  Criminal Background Check Required

    UT Tyler will obtain criminal background checks, at a minimum, on:

    1. Applicants for Employment: any applicant, internal or external, who is under final consideration, following normal screening and selection processes, for a regular (i.e. not temporary) full-­time or part-­time position of employment with the University.

      Authorization Required: The institution must receive an authorization form signed by the applicant before the institution requests the check. The format of the authorization form will conform to applicable state and federal law. (See Criminal Background Check Form.)

      Sources for applicants: Any or all of the following background check sources may be used, as appropriate:
      • The TxDPS Crime Records Service – Secure Site.
      • Other state, national, and international sites.
      • A private vendor that offers national criminal background check services.

    2. Current Employees

      1. a current employee who is under consideration for a promotion that requires a criminal background check;

      2. a current regular (i.e., not temporary) employee if the institution has not previously obtained a criminal background check on the employee; and

      3. a current employee when the President, or his/her designee, determines it is necessary to further the goals of the institution.

    3. Volunteers

      1. those wanting to volunteer their services to UT Tyler.

    4. Sources for current employees: Any or all of the following background check sources may be used, as appropriate:

      • The TxDPS Crime Records Service – Public Site.
      • Other state, national, and international sites.
      • A private vender, subject to compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

  2. Statutorily Required Criminal Background Check

    Where state or federal law requires that a position be subject to a criminal background check using a specific source of criminal background check information and/or certain procedures, the University will comply with such laws. To the extent such laws impose criminal background checks that are more extensive or substantially similar; the University may rely on compliance with the statute to satisfy the requirements of this policy.

  3. No Automatic Disqualification for Criminal Background

    An individual with a criminal record will not automatically be disqualified from employment or promotion. In the event the investigation reveals criminal record information, the hiring official, in consultation with the Office of Human Resources, will determine on a case­ by ­case basis whether the individual is qualified based on factors such as:

    1. specific duties of the position;
    2. number of offenses;
    3. nature of each offense;
    4. length of time intervening between the offense and the employment decision;
    5. employment history;
    6. efforts at rehabilitation; and
    7. accuracy of the information that the individual provided on the employment
      application. 
  4. Job advertisements and postings for employment will include a statement that the position is security sensitive and the employer is authorized to obtain a criminal background check including criminal history record information.
  5. Conducting a Criminal Background Check for Applicants
    1. A criminal background check will not be performed until Human Resources receives a completed, signed Criminal Background Check Form. The hiring official is responsible for directing the individual to complete, sign, and deliver the form to Human Resources. An applicant who fails to complete, sign, and submit the form will be removed from further consideration for the position. In addition, if the applicant is a current employee, such refusal is grounds for disciplinary action.
    2. The criminal background check should include states where the applicant has resided and/or been employed during the period of no less than seven years immediately preceding the date the individual signed the Criminal Background Check Form.
    3. Human Resources will promptly obtain and review the criminal background information and will notify the hiring official of the results of the investigation.
    4. Human Resources will conduct the criminal background check before the hiring official makes the employment decision. However, if circumstances require that an offer of employment be made before the completion of the criminal background check, the offer must be in writing and contain a statement that the offer is contingent on the completion of a satisfactory criminal background investigation.
  6. Conducting a Criminal Background Check on Current Employees
    1. UT Tyler will utilize the TxDPS Crime Records Service – Public Site and/or other publically available local, state, or federal criminal record sources to perform these checks to obtain criminal conviction record information and other publically available information. The TxDPS secure site will not be used for these checks.
    2. Human Resources will determine a procedure to identify the current UT Tyler employees for whom a criminal background check has not previously been obtained.
    3. Human Resources may require an employee to complete, sign, and deliver a criminal background check form to Human Resources. An employee’s refusal to comply is grounds for disciplinary action.
    4. Human Resources will promptly obtain and review the criminal background information and will notify the department head of a criminal record, if any.
    5. Falsification or Omission of Criminal Record Information
  7. Falsification of an application or omission of criminal record information required to be reported is grounds to reject an applicant or discipline/terminate an employee.
  8. Notice Requirement
    1. If the University receives a report indicating that an applicant or a current employee has a criminal record Human Resources will notify the individual that such a report has been received, provide the individual with a copy of the report, and notify the individual of the right to challenge the accuracy and completeness of the report and to submit additional information relating to the criminal record and why it should not affect an employment decision.
    2. If the University has used a third­party vendor credit reporting agency to conduct criminal record checks, the resulting report is considered a “consumer report” under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). If such a report is relied on to deny employment, deny a promotion, reassign, or terminate an employee, the individual will be provided with a specific pre­adverse action disclosure that includes a copy of the individual's consumer report and a copy of "A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act," a document prescribed by the Federal Trade Commission. The credit reporting agency that furnishes the individual's report is required to give UT Tyler the summary of consumer rights.
  9. Opportunity to Respond
    1. Within five business days following the receipt of the report as provided in Section 8a, the individual may submit additional information to the hiring official/supervisor relating to the criminal record and why it should not affect the employment decision. Before the hiring official/supervisor makes a final employment decision, he/she will review all information provided to him/her with Human Resources and consult about whether to proceed with an offer or adverse employment action. If Human Resources is of the opinion that the results of the criminal background check indicate that the individual may be unacceptable for the position being filled or for continued employment, then the hiring official may not extend an offer to or continue employment of the individual without the prior written approval of the applicable executive officer or his or her designee.
    2. External Applicants for Employment. The decision of the institution is final and may not be appealed.
    3. Current Employees. If the individual is a current employee subject to a criminal background check, standard employee grievance procedures are available to challenge the decision. If the criminal record leads to termination, the applicable employee discipline and discharge procedures will be used.
    4. Post­-Decision Disclosure When Private Vendor Services Used to Conduct Criminal Background Check. If a consumer report has been relied on to deny employment, deny a promotion, reassign, or terminate an employee after the institution has taken an adverse action, the individual must be given notice that the action has been taken. It must include
      1. the name, address, and phone number of the credit reporting agency that supplied the report;
      2. a statement that the credit reporting agency that supplied the report did not make the decision to take the adverse action and cannot give specific reasons for it; and
      3. 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.
  10. Self-Reporting
    1. Applicants for Employment. Applicants must report in writing any criminal complaint, information, indictment, no contest plea, guilty plea, deferred adjudication, or convictions, excluding traffic offenses punishable only by fine, occurring after the date of application within five business days.
    2. Current Employees. University employees are required to report to their department head in writing, within five business days, any criminal complaint, information, indictment, no contest plea, guilty plea, deferred adjudication, or criminal conviction, excluding those for misdemeanor offenses punishable only by fine. Failure to do so is a violation of policy and may lead to disciplinary action as appropriate. (A self­disclosure form link is provided in this policy.)
    3. Department Head Obligation. The University department head receiving a self-report as required under this section must provide the information to Human Resources and consult about the individual’s suitability for the position.
  11. Retention of Criminal Background Check Records
    1. Confidential Records. Records obtained from a criminal background check database will be regarded as confidential as required by law and will not be made a part of the applicant's file or the employee's personnel file. The information will be kept in a separate secure file and will not be communicated to any unauthorized person.
    2. Criminal History Record Information. Under Texas Government Code Section 411.085, the unauthorized release of criminal history record information, information obtained from the TxDPS secure site consisting of identifiable descriptions and notations of arrests, detentions, indictments, information, and other formal criminal charges and their dispositions, is a criminal offense and, consequently, UT Tyler officials in possession of such information shall seek legal advice with respect to any requested release of such information.
    3. Destruction of Records Obtained from a Criminal Background Check Database. The UT Tyler Police Department shall destroy all records obtained from a criminal background check database about the individual six months after it is obtained.
    4. Self-Reports. Self-reports of charges or convictions as required by this policy will be maintained with the employee’s personnel file in OES in accordance with UT Tyler’s records retention schedule.
  12. Other Background Checks. This policy and procedure addresses criminal background checks only and does not limit the University’s authority to conduct other background checks as permitted by law.
  13. Relevant Federal and State Statutes
    1. Texas Education Code § 51. 215 – Access to Police Records of Employment Applicants
    2. Texas Government Code § 411. 094 – Access to Criminal History Record Information: Institution of Higher Education
    3. Texas Government Code § 411. 081 et seq. – Criminal History Clearinghouse
    4. Texas Government Code § 411. 135 – Access to Certain Information by Public
    5. Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq.
  14. Relevant Forms
    1. Criminal Background Check Form
    2. Criminal Background Check Self Disclosure Form
    3. Private Vendor Background Release Form
    4. Private Vendor Background Release Form
    5. Grants DPS Background Check Release Form
  15. System Administration Office(s) Responsible for Policy

    Human Resources

  16. System Administration Office(s) Responsible for Policy

    Human Resources

  17. Contact Information Questions or comments about this policy may be directed to Human Resources.

E. Responsibilities

See Policy and Procedures section.

F. Review

This policy shall be reviewed by Human Resources every five years or as legislation changes.

ORIGINALLY APPROVED:  12/01/2001

LAST AMENDED:  AY 2014-15