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Criminal History Review and Determining Relevance to Job Requirements

Once you’ve chosen the final candidate(s) under consideration for hire into the position, an HR Contact in your department will create a request in the online Background Check Administration (BCA) system and invite the applicant to authorize the check electronically. If you prefer to give the applicant a paper form, you will ask the finalist to complete a Criminal Background Check Form. An HR Contact can then enter the request and the authorization into Background Check Administration. HR will obtain a copy of the candidate’s official criminal record and review the information for convictions that are relevant to the duties of the position. For more information about background checks, go to How to Request a Background Check.

No applicant can be excluded from hire simply because he or she has a criminal history. It is important to consider criminal history on a case by case basis, taking into account the following:

The sections below explain how Human Resources will review criminal history and determine relevance. It is important to be familiar with these basic procedures, because the position for which you are hiring may have additional types of convictions that are relevant. For example, for some positions certain driving offenses may be relevant to the job duties and potentially prevent a candidate from being hired. Please refer to the section Additional Offenses That May Be Relevant below for more examples. The hiring department should notify HR by email, if there are additional offense types for HR to review.

In addition, the hiring department should use the Background Check Administration system to review any criminal history information that the applicant has disclosed and take that information into account using the sections below as a guide. Remember that you cannot disqualify a candidate simply for having a conviction: the offenses must be relevant to the position in question. Hiring managers are encouraged to consult with Human Resources before excluding an applicant due to criminal history information that was disclosed by the candidate. Contact your Strategic Workforce Solutions partner if you have questions or need assistance with determining relevance to job duties.

For more information on considering conviction information, see the EEOC publication Guidance on Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions. The EEOC has determined that improper use of conviction information in hiring decisions can violate Title VII’s disparate treatment and disparate impact theories. It is critical for hiring departments to consider conviction information in a fair and consistent manner.

Is the Conviction Relevant to the Position?

The following types of convictions are generally relevant to any position at the university:

Although a conviction in one of these categories is generally relevant, a conviction of this type may not exclude the applicant. Other factors, as listed above, must be considered, particularly severity of the offense and the length of time since the conviction. 

On the other hand, a conviction that is not within one of the five categories above could be relevant to a particular job. For example, a drug or alcohol related conviction is more likely to be relevant when the job requires driving or contact with minors. See the chart Additional Offenses That May Be Relevant for more examples.

How Recent Is the Conviction?

In general, you should consider convictions and deferred adjudications that fall within this timeframe:

Again, it is important to remember that these are general guidelines. The timeframe and types of convictions that you consider relevant should be determined by the nature of the position for which the individual is applying.

Type of Offense and Recommended Action

This chart notes the severity of offenses and how long after conviction they are generally considered relevant. Offenses are generally relevant if the offense occurred within the time period indicated. The chart Additional Offenses That May Be Relevant (below) suggests some conviction types that are likely to be relevant if the position has certain job requirements.

Offense Time Recommended Action
Felony Within 7 years

Do not hire

If the felony is relevant to positionfor which applicant is being considered.

Categories that are relevant to most positions include: 

  • Theft related
  • Injury to person(s)
  • Weapons
  • Threats
  • Injury to property
Misdemeanor Within 3 years

Do not hire

If the misdemeanor is relevant to position for which applicant is being considered.

Categories that are relevant to most positions include: 

  • Theft related
  • Injury to person(s)
  • Weapons
  • Threats
  • Injury to property
Pending or Deferred Adjudications
(i.e., the final disposition is still pending or the original charge has not been dismissed)
 

Eligible for hire

The hiring department should monitor. If applicant does not comply with the adjudication, it could become a relevant conviction.

Additional Offenses That May Be Relevant

Job Requirements Relevant Offense
Equipment Operation (i.e., driving, operation of heavy equipment)   
  • Drug Related
  • Alcohol Related
  • Criminal Traffic Offenses (DWI, DUI)
Handling Chemicals/Pathogens/Controlled Substances
  • Crimes against the U.S. Government
  • Environment related
  • Drug Related
Transportation/Shipping
  • Smuggling
  • Crimes against the U.S. Government
Financial (i.e., Cash/Purchasing/Grants/Contracts/Storeroom/Accounting)
  • Smuggling
  • Gambling
Contact with Minors (i.e., Elementary Teachers, Child Care Workers, Camp Counselors)
  • Drug Related
  • Alcohol Related
  • Criminal Traffic Offenses (DWI, DUI)
Security Clearance
  • Smuggling
  • Crimes Against the US Government
  • Gambling
  • Obstructing Justice

Non-Hire Decisions

Human Resources will obtain an official report of the person’s criminal history and determine whether there are convictions which would normally exclude the person from being hired into the position. If there are no relevant convictions, HR will notify you by email that the individual is clear to hire. If HR determines that there are relevant convictions, a Strategic Workforce Solutions partner will contact the appropriate representative of the hiring department to discuss the non-hire decision.

The hiring department should review any criminal history information that the applicant has disclosed and consider whether any convictions are relevant to the job duties of the position. This step is important whether the Human Resource Services indicates the person is clear to hire or not recommended for hire. The hiring department has a fuller understanding of the job duties of the position and may therefore be more capable to determine the relevance of certain conviction. In addition, through its contact with the finalist, the hiring department may know of mitigating or extenuating circumstances.

Please contact HR immediately if you have questions or if when reviewing the information disclosed by the applicant, you find that the disclosed convictions are relevant to the position. Likewise you should contact your Records and Onboarding representative immediately if you receive notice that the applicant is clear for hire, but you feel the convictions that were disclosed should be considered relevant.

Non-Hire Notice to Applicant

Once it has been determined that the applicant has convictions which are relevant to the position, Human Resource Services will notify the applicant in writing. The notice gives the applicant an opportunity to correct errors in the criminal history record or provide additional information. The applicant has up to five business days from the date of the letter to provide additional information.

The hiring department is asked not to offer the position to another finalist until the five day period has expired. You will be notified immediately when the applicant indicates whether he or she will request a review. You may be able to proceed with the hiring process sooner than five days, if a review decision has been made or if the applicant indicates that there is no need for review.

While this is clearly an inconvenience to the hiring department, the applicant must be given a chance to provide correction or additional information and be returned to consideration for the position if the conviction information was incorrect or not relevant.

Rescinding an Offer of Employment

The finalist should not begin work before the background check results are received. It is recommended that you wait for the results of all required background check(s) before making an offer of employment. If you do make the offer, it is important to be clear that the offer is contingent upon the results of the background check. If the person begins work before the background check results are received, and you receive a non-hire recommendation from HRS, please contact your Strategic Workforce Solutions partner immediately.