Policy Number: III-2
Last Reviewed: April 16, 2019
Responsible Dept.: Human Resources
A signed copy of this policy is available in the President’s Office.
In order to protect its interests and the wellbeing of its students, staff, faculty, and the public, it is the policy of Virginia Western Community College to conduct criminal, credit, motor vehicle and/or other pertinent background checks and inquiries on candidates selected for college positions, volunteers, and select contractors, and others as deemed appropriate by the college.
Background Investigation – A review of records includes academic record and verification of licenses and certifications, educational history, financial history, work references, motor vehicle records, criminal convictions, drug testing, consumer records, residency checks, probation/parole records, or investigative reports that may include Social Security Number Search, Credit Report (if related to job duties), criminal records (any federal, state, and local misdemeanor and/or felony convictions), Global Terrorism Records (to include Office of Foreign Assets Control of the U.S. Department of Treasury), and various state Sexual Offender Registry records, or other records or information related to the candidate’s suitability for the position.
Contractor – Individuals that work for the college through a third party.
Conviction – The result of a trial that ends in judgment or sentence that the person is guilty as charged.
Critical Infrastructures – For Homeland Security purposes, “critical infrastructures” normally refers to public utility, communications, water, emergency management, law enforcement, public health, transportation, agribusiness, financial and governmental systems that are essential to ensuring public safety, national security and the economic stability of the state or nation.
Employee – A person who is hired by Virginia Western Community College to perform a service in exchange for salary or wages. A “Rehired Employee” is a person who has been previously employed by Virginia Western or other state agency and has had a break in service as defined by state policies.
Fair Credit Reporting Act – The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), enforced by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), is designed to promote accuracy and ensure the privacy of the information used in consumer reports and investigative consumer reports. The FTC treats criminal background investigations as investigative consumer reports.
OFAC Terrorist Watch List – A list that identifies individuals and foreign countries targeted by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Department of the Treasury as terrorists, international narcotics traffickers, and those engaged in activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Security-Sensitive Positions – Positions identified by Virginia Western management as directly responsible for the health, safety and welfare of the general populace or protection of critical infrastructures, and/or having responsibilities in safety, law enforcement, medical services, homeland security, or financial and government systems that are essential to ensuring public safety, national security and economic stability of the college. Individuals offered security-sensitive positions must in part submit to fingerprinting to undergo a fingerprint based criminal history check; and supply requested personal information to be used by the Department of State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in conducting the records check.
Sensitive Employee Positions – Positions that may have access to significant levels of cash or negotiable securities; or significant responsibility for the execution or approval of financial transactions and other fiscal areas; or are those with access to significant data and resource access; or has privileged access to highly sensitive data or critical data processing systems; and/or unsupervised access to college, employee or student property. All employees, including law enforcement officers, of Virginia Western are considered to occupy a sensitive position.
Transfer – An internal employment situation when an employee moves to another department or changes job duties that moves an employee into a different position, or when an employee moves from one state agency to another.
Volunteer – A volunteer is a person who provides services for which the individual neither expects nor receives compensation, but may be reimbursed for expenses when receiving prior approval.
This policy applies to all new employees, rehired employees and employees who are transferred, promoted and/or demoted into selected classified, administrative/professional faculty, instructional faculty, adjunct faculty and hourly/wage positions (including student employees and work/study students having access to sensitive IT systems or data), volunteers, and select contractors. Certain other positions may be designated as well. The college shall practice these investigations, inquiries, background checks affording equal opportunity regardless of race, creed, color, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, veteran status, disability status, or age, and shall be guided by business necessity, bona fide job occupational qualifications, and in compliance with State and Federal laws, policies and procedures.
Security Sensitive Positions
Consistent with the requirements of Code of Virginia §2.2-1201.1, positions in the Campus Police Office are designated as “security-sensitive”. By nature, these positions are also to be considered sensitive positions.
Individuals, including hourly/wage employees, who are selected for a law enforcement or security position, will be offered a conditional job offer and will not begin employment until after a successful completion of a physical examination, fingerprint-based criminal history checks and other applicable background checks and investigations in compliance with DHRM Policy 2.10 and the Code of Virginia §15.2-1705. Information obtained through these checks may or may not affect the employee’s conditional job offer, depending upon the relevance of the information to the position and other factors. As “security sensitive” positions, law enforcement and security positions shall be subject to background checks of a more extensive nature in keeping with state standards set by law (Virginia Code §15.2-1705) and State policy and according to VWCC Campus Police background check procedure.
All written offers of employment shall include language that the offer is contingent upon receipt of acceptable background check reports and that the offer may be withdrawn and/or employment terminated based upon information obtained from the reports. Normally, conviction checks for sensitive positions will be initiated for the selected candidate prior to the official job offer for:
- individuals selected for full-time classified, administrative/professional faculty, instructional faculty positions and part-time adjunct faculty and hourly/wage positions, except student employees and work/study students; and
- individuals identified based upon departmental needs and policies.
Convictions discovered in the criminal background check may influence the employment of the applicant where such information is job related or related to drugs, alcohol, violence, or illegal sexual behavior (including, but not limited to, listings on the Sexual Offender Registry).
Any information related to convictions shall be maintained in the strictest confidence possible. Only essential personnel involved in the hiring process shall be informed, on a need-to-know basis. The associate vice president of Human Resources, or designee, will administer the gathering of this information, except in the case of campus police officer and security positions, which will be subject to the regulations of the Campus Police Office and pursuant to DHRM Policy 2.10. Information contained in this file shall be kept to a minimum, briefly identifying the outcome of the results. For individuals rejected, the file documents will indicate that the offer was retracted because of information obtained through a criminal background, motor vehicle record, and/or credit history investigation. For the person hired, the file documentation would indicate that a background investigation revealed no problem areas related to employment.
Background Checks to be Conducted
All positions shall be subject to criminal history background checks, to include federal, state and county conviction records. All full-time positions are additionally subject to motor vehicle and credit history inquiry. Further, any positions with significant access to highly sensitive data or critical data processing systems and/or unsupervised access to college, employee or student property will have a full background check conducted.
Positions in the Campus Police Office that are law enforcement and/or security positions are subject to fingerprint-based criminal history checks related to both the Central Criminal Records Exchanged and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, credit checks, motor vehicle record checks and other background checks in compliance with the Code of Virginia §15.2-1705§15.2-1705, to include personal and family history; credit history; education, including all schools attended and degrees or certificates obtained; all residences for the past ten years; comprehensive employment history; traffic summonses and accidents; and character and reputation inquiries and other practices and standards as delineated by Campus Police procedure. In addition, all campus law enforcement and security positions shall undergo a physical examination, subsequent to a conditional offer of employment under the supervision of a licensed physician.
The following part time positions may based on the following be subject to an additional motor vehicle record and/or credit history inquiry:
- Positions that involve the operation of a motor vehicle or heavy equipment, or may require the employee to operate college vehicles, or require the possession of a valid motor vehicles operator’s license, shall be subject to motor vehicle record checks.
- Positions that have access to significant levels of cash or negotiable securities shall be subject to credit history checks.
- Positions that have significant responsibility for the execution or approval of financial transactions shall be subject to credit history checks.
- Positions that have responsibility for creating, collecting, or accounting for significant levels of accounts receivable shall be subject to credit history checks.
- Positions that have responsibility for purchasing and/or awarding or approving purchases or contracts for services, materials and supplies shall be subject to credit history checks.
- Positions that have significant inventory control responsibilities, including the receipt and release of inventory shall be subject to credit history checks.
- Positions with authority for committing the financial resources of the college shall be subject to credit history checks.
- Positions with access to, or responsibility for, the college’s payroll/personnel and/or purchasing systems shall be subject to credit history checks.
- Positions with access to sensitive IT systems or data, including student and work/study positions that may have access to student or employee records and/or financial resources shall be subject to credit history checks. Credit history checks may be conducted on students depending upon the degree and nature of access to sensitive data.
Determination of Job-Related Convictions
All convictions will be considered in determining an applicant’s suitability for employment. Detention and/or arrest without conviction do not constitute valid grounds for employment decisions and cannot play a part in the decision-making process. The associate vice president of Human Resources, or designee, will review the conviction records on each candidate for whom an order has been issued to determine job-relatedness. If a job-related conviction is identified, the determination to deny employment to the selected candidate will be made by the associate vice president of Human Resources, in consultation with the employing supervisor, the respective vice president, the president and legal counsel, if necessary. Applicants will be provided with a copy of the background report in situations of adverse hiring decisions. If information is determined to be erroneous, a new check will be conducted at no cost by the background check agency. Human Resources will serve as the “Office of Record” for background check results.
In making the determination of job-relatedness, consideration will be given to how recent the conviction occurred, frequency and severity of the crimes, and the age of the individual at the time the crimes were committed.
For applicants rejected because of background information, a note in the recruitment (or personnel) file shall be placed indicating preferred candidate but did not receive an offer or had a conditional offer retracted because of information obtained through a criminal records check.
For current employees, every employee must inform his/her supervisor within five (5) business days if he/she is:
- Formally charged and/or under investigation for alleged criminal conduct that is related to the nature of his/her job, to the agency’s mission, or represents a risk to the college; or,
- charged or convicted of a criminal offense (including traffic infractions and a DUI if the employee is subject to operating college vehicles, may travel using state or enterprise vehicles, or are in safety sensitive positions).
In accordance with the Code of Virginia § 51.1-124.13, Virginia Retirement System (VRS) members, including VRS, VaLORS, ORP, and Hybrid members, who have been convicted of a felony for misconduct associated with the employee’s performance of job duties on or after July 1, 2012 shall forfeit all of their VRS related benefits.
Virginia Western reserves the right to conduct a criminal background check on employees when circumstances are identified that warrant further investigation. Results of the background check will normally not affect opportunities for continued employment. However, if information discovered regarding prior or current charges or convictions leads to a conclusion that the safety of students, clients, and/or co-workers may be compromised, the individual may be reassigned or his/her employment may be terminated. Reporting of charges and convictions is applicable to all employees.
The determination of falsified information or failure to report may result in denial of or continuation in college employment.
Those who violate the terms of this policy or related procedures, including violations of confidentiality, are subject to disciplinary action, including termination.
Failure to disclose charges or conviction(s) may result in termination or denial of employment.
An employee who fails to disclose being charged with a crime within five (5) business days of being charged is considered to be in violation of a condition of continued employment and may result in termination.
Criminal convictions of current employees will be assessed in the same manner as new hires and may result in disciplinary action according to the Standards of Conduct Policy and Faculty Sanctions.
The college carries a blanket fidelity and surety bond on Virginia Western Community College employees. No additional bonding is necessary.
Statement of Economic Interest
Pursuant to Executive Order 16 (2006) and Sections 2.2-3114 and 2.2-3115 of the Code of Virginia, employees of Virginia Western Community College who are employed in a position of significant trust involving responsibilities for inspection, investigation, licensure, or involving substantive responsibility for procurement, audit, investment, or other activities that could be subject to abuse or improper influence of the personal economic interest of Virginia Western Community College shall be required upon entering a position and semi-annually thereafter shall file the statement of economic interest in accordance with Section 2.2-3114 of the Code of Virginia. This filing is a condition of assuming the position or employment and thereafter on or before June 15th and on or before December 15th of each year.
Code of Virginia, Chapter 2.2 and Chapter 15.2
Executive Order 16 (2006)
DHRM Policy 2.20 Types of Employment
DHRM Policy 2.10 Hiring
VCCS Policy Section 3
DHRM Policy 1.60 Standards of Conduct
VWCC Background Investigation Procedure