It is important that the Catholic educational mission of Seton Hall University (“Seton Hall” or “University”) is supported by qualified employees who foster a safe and secure environment for all University constituencies. Seton Hall also must take reasonable actions to protect its funds, property and other assets. A background check policy reduces potential risk to the University and its constituencies.
This is a University-wide policy that applies to all full and part-time, permanent and temporary faculty (including adjunct faculty), administrators and bargaining and non-bargaining unit staff.
- Seton Hall requires that all full and part-time, permanent and temporary faculty (including adjunct faculty), administrators and bargaining and non-bargaining unit staff consent to an appropriate background check prior to employment with the University, as well as prior to promotion or transfer within the University.
- A background check is not required for tenured or tenure-track faculty for the purposes of renewing the tenure-track appointment, for promotion in rank or for the award of tenure.
- All offers of employment or promotion/transfer shall be contingent upon an appropriate and satisfactory background check.
- The University will assess the results of the background check and determine whether the results are satisfactory.
- Seton Hall requires an appropriate background check for any individual, except adjunct faculty, who has a break in service prior to reemployment. Any adjunct faculty member who has a break in service of 12 months or less shall not be required to undergo a background check, but shall be required to comply with Paragraph 8 below.
- The standard background check required by the University includes an examination of criminal records (county, in-state, out-of-state, federal and sex offender registry), verification of educational records, degrees, licenses and resume, verification/trace of the Social Security number and reference checks. Additional background checks may be required depending on the nature of the position and the surrounding circumstances. Such additional background checks may include, but are not limited to, credit/financial investigation, drug and alcohol testing, physical examination, motor vehicle records check and fitness for duty evaluation.
- Any information that is falsely reported or omitted by a candidate or an employee is cause for withdrawal of an offer of employment, promotion or transfer and/or cause for termination of employment.
- If an existing employee, faculty member (including adjunct faculty) or adjunct faculty member during a break in service, is convicted of a crime, enters a plea of responsibility or is the subject of pending criminal charges, the individual has an affirmative duty to notify Human Resources or the Office of the Provost within five (5) business days of the conviction, plea or charge. The failure of an existing employee or faculty member (including adjunct faculty) to notify Human Resources or the Office of the Provost is cause for termination of employment. In the case of an adjunct faculty member during a break in service of 12 months or less, who fails to notify the Office of the Provost, such failure may result in non-reemployment as an adjunct faculty member. For those full-time faculty members to whom a Faculty Guide applies, termination for cause shall be governed by the procedures set forth therein.
Background checks and results will be used only for evaluating candidates for employment or promotion/transfer. They will not be used to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, gender, affectional or sexual orientation, disability or perceived disability, age, marital status, pregnancy, gender identity or expression, atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, veteran’s status, domestic partnership or civil union status, genetic information or AIDS and/or HIV status. This non-discrimination policy is administered by the University in accordance with all state and federal laws and regulations and the teachings of the Catholic Church.
- Seton Hall University utilizes the services of a third party vendor to manage background checks and/or may conduct some or all of the background checks itself.
- All candidates for employment or promotion/transfer shall be asked to complete an online employment application that will inform them of the requirement of a pre-employment background check, which will include a criminal background check and other background checks that are relevant to the position sought. If an online employment application is not filed, Human Resources will notify the candidate, in writing, of the requirement of appropriate background checks.
- Conditional offers of employment, promotion or transfer may be extended pending the satisfactory results of all relevant background checks. All offer letters shall state that employment, promotion or transfer is contingent upon a satisfactory background check and that the determination of satisfactory shall be made by the University. Human Resources shall be responsible for sending the offer letter to administrators and staff and the Office of the Provost shall be responsible for sending the offer letter to faculty.
- All candidates for employment, promotion or transfer are required to sign a consent/release form that authorizes the University to investigate all statements made on the employment application, undertake the appropriate background checks and authorizes other educational institutions, employers and references to respond to questions concerning the candidate and/or information contained in the application. All candidates must sign the consent/release no later than three (3) business days of the conditional offer or the offer may be rescinded.
- Human Resources and the Office of the Provost are responsible for the administration of the Background Check Policy. Human Resources will assess the results of all background checks for administrators and staff. The Office of the Provost, in consultation with the Human Resources, will assess the results of all background checks for faculty.
- If a criminal history has been reported by the candidate, and/or the criminal background check results in the discovery of criminal records, Human Resources and the Office of the Provost will consult with appropriate University officials, including, but not limited to, for administrators and staff, the hiring manager and the manager’s Vice President, and for faculty, the Dean and department chair. Except where employment is expressly prohibited by law, each situation will be reviewed on an individual basis considering factors such as, but not limited to, the nature and age of the conviction, its relevance to the position and efforts at rehabilitation and restitution. Criminal convictions, pleas that are acknowledgements of responsibility and pending criminal charges will be considered in the determination of an individual’s suitability for employment, promotion or transfer. For administrators and staff, subject to Paragraph 7 and 8 below, the appropriate Vice President shall make the final decision regarding employment, promotion or transfer. For faculty, subject to Paragraph 7 and 8 below, the Office of the Provost shall make the final decision regarding employment.
- If a candidate is to be disqualified based on the information contained in a background check, Human Resources or the Office of the Provost will provide the candidate with a copy of the background check report and a notice summarizing his/her rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. A reasonable opportunity to submit information that disputes the accuracy or completeness of the report to Human Resources or to the Office of the Provost will be provided before a final decision is made. For faculty candidates, the final decision will be made by the Office of the Provost, in consultation with the Dean and department chair. For administrators and staff, the final decision shall be made by the appropriate Vice President, in consultation with Human Resources. In the event of an adverse decision, the candidate will be given an additional copy of the background check report, a summary of rights, contact information for the reporting agency and a statement that the reporting agency did not make the adverse employment decision and cannot explain the basis of the decision.
- If the decision is made to hire, promote or transfer a candidate who has background check findings, justification for the decision must be submitted in writing to Human Resources prior to issuing an offer of employment or promotion/transfer. If Human Resources has concerns with the decision, the matter will be directed to the Vice President for Administration and/or the Provost (when appropriate) for additional discussion with the area Vice President.
- Records gathered as a result of a background check will be maintained by Human Resources or the Office of the Provost as confidential files. Such files will be maintained separately from an employee’s general personnel record. These files include the signed consent/release form, any information collected from the background check and any correspondence with the third party vendor managing the background check. The records will be retained in accordance with the University’s record retention policy and may be reviewed only on a need-to-know basis or as required by law.
- Human Resources is responsible for the payment of fees associated with all background checks for administrators and staff, except that departments are responsible for the payment of fees associated with drug and alcohol testing and fitness for duty evaluations. The Office of the Provost is responsible for the payment of fees associated with all background checks for faculty.
This policy was approved by Dr. A. Gabriel Esteban, President, on the recommendation of the Executive Cabinet, on May 1, 2014.
October 18, 2012