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Policy VII-1.15-GC

UMGC Policy on Criminal Background Checks for Staff and Faculty Employees

(Approved by USM BOR on April 21, 2017; UMGC President on July 1, 2017)

  1. Purpose and Applicability

    This policy establishes minimum standards for the appropriate acquisition and use of criminal background records in order to support a safe and secure University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) campus environment.

    This policy applies to all UMGC Staff and Faculty employees and external applicants for employment. For all Overseas Staff and Faculty employees, an applicable Department of Defense (DOD) background investigation may be required. Nonexempt Staff employees who are included in the representation of the collective bargaining unit are subject to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and applicable UMGC HR Policies; where there is a conflict between the two, the MOU will prevail.

  2. Definitions

    1. Commercial Criminal Background Check: A criminal background check completed by a commercial entity through a review of publicly available law enforcement, court and other records, including international records as appropriate. A commercial criminal background check typically is based upon identifying information regarding the individual, but does not utilize fingerprints.

    2. Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS) Record History: A criminal background check completed by the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services of all criminal history information regarding an individual maintained by the CJIS Central Repository, consistent with the requirements of the Maryland Annotated Code, Criminal Procedure Article, Sections 10-201 et seq. A CJIS record history is based upon national and state criminal history records and uses an individual's fingerprints and other identifying information.

    3. Minor: An individual under the age of 18.

    4. Permissive Criminal Background Check: A commercial criminal background check or CJIS Record History that is not required by law, but is permitted at UMGC's discretion.

    5. Programs Involving Minors:  A program or event hosted by or closely associated with UMGC in which:

      1. The program's purpose is to provide benefit, service or activity to or for minors;

      2. UMGC personnel have significant roles or regular contact with minors; and

      3. Not including spontaneous gatherings, single social events or academic courses open to and attended by both minors and adults.

  3. Acquisition of Criminal Background Records

    1. Mandatory Criminal Background Checks: UMGC may be required under Federal or State law and as set forth in the applicable procedures to obtain and review pre-employment CJIS criminal background checks for certain employees.

    2. Permissive Criminal Background Checks

      1. In addition to the circumstances under which UMGC must obtain and review a criminal background check, UMGC also has the discretion to require background checks of other employees, applicants, and volunteers.

      2. UMGC shall have standards and processes for guiding the acquisition and evaluation of permissive criminal background checks set forth in the applicable procedures.

      3. UMGC may elect to obtain criminal background checks with respect to any position. Examples include:

        1. Employees in facilities and programs other than those for which such background checks are mandatory, if the employee's duties involve contact with minors;

        2. UMGC Volunteers who have access to minors in UMGC activities and programs; and

        3. Employees with:

          1. Financial responsibilities, including access to cash and authority to expend UMGC resources; and

          2. Other sensitive job duties.

      4. Prohibited Actions: UMGC may not inquire into the criminal background of an applicant for employment until after UMGC provides the applicant an opportunity for an interview. Md. Code Ann., State Personnel and Pensions Article, Section 2-203.

  4. Proper Use of Criminal Background Checks

    1. Criminal Background Check Considerations: UMGC's use of background checks in making employment decisions must be tailored to meet legitimate business needs, taking into consideration at least:

      1. The nature and extent of the employee's past criminal activities;

      2. The time elapsed since the activities took place; and

      3. The nature, duties and functions of the job.

    2. Nondiscrimination: The use of criminal background checks in UMGC's employment decisions must be impartial, with no difference in their acquisition or use based on race, sex, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, or other factors that might promote or imply discriminatory practice.

      1. Even a neutral policy or practice regarding background checks that has the potential to have a disparate impact on a class of individuals must be:

        1. Related to specific job duties, and

        2. Consistent with business necessity.

      2. No employee may be excluded from employment based upon generalized UMGC policies or practices regarding the use of criminal background checks without an individual assessment that includes the factors described in this section.

    3. Arrest Records: UMGC may not deny employment to an applicant based solely on a record of arrest in the absence of a conviction, other criminal penalty or substantiation of facts underlying the arrest, which relates to the applicant's fitness to perform the duties of the job.

    4. Commercial Background Checks: If UMGC denies employment based upon background check information provided by a commercial vendor that qualifies as a Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) under the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), UMGC shall comply with FCRA requirements, including:

      1. Notifying the applicant/employee in writing, and

      2. Providing the applicant/employee with a copy of the FCRA's report and a summary of the individuals FCRA rights.

  5. Contracts with Vendors That Operate Programs for Minors

    1. Mandatory Background Checks: UMGC contracts with vendors that operate educational programs, child care centers or other services to minors on campus must require the vendor's compliance with mandatory background check requirements of this policy and state and federal law.

    2. Permissive Background Checks: Such contracts may also require commercial criminal background checks as appropriate to protect the interests of the institution and the individuals served by the institution, consistent with the requirements of his policy.

  6. UMGC Responsibilities

    UMGC shall:

    1. Maintain standards and procedures for the acquisition and use of criminal background checks, consistent with this policy;

    2. Maintain procedures for maintaining confidential records of background check results, consistent with applicable federal and state legal requirements;

    3. Provide training to employees who interview and hire employees regarding the appropriate methods for acquiring, using and maintaining background check information; and

    4. Ensure a process by which an individual denied employment or other opportunity at UMGC due to the results of a criminal background check may contest the accuracy of the records upon which the denial was based.

Implementation Procedures

The UMGC President has designated the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) to administer this policy; to develop procedures as necessary to implement this policy; to communicate this policy to the UMGC community; and to post the policy and any applicable procedures on the UMGC website.

Replacement for:

  • USM BOR VII-1.15: Policy on Criminal Background Checks for Faculty and Staff Employees