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Catherine A. Pratson
Director of Human Resources 

Melvin A. McClintock
Assistant Director of Human Resources/AA/EEO Officer

Michelle L. Forinash
Assistant Director of Human Resources

A. Faye Graves
Human Resources Specialist

Symaria A. Enoch
Fiscal Associate II

 

Phone: (240) 895-4309
Fax: (240) 895-4997
Glendening Hall 170
18952 East Fisher Road
St. Mary's City, MD 20686

HR Office

St. Mary's College of Maryland Criminal Background Checks Policy Effective July 1, 2008

Responsible Executive:  Vice President for Business & Finance
Responsible Office: Office of Human Resources

Printable Copy

Policy Summary

Criminal background checks will be conducted on any new applicants extended contingent offers of employment into sensitive positions with the College.  Sensitive positions are positions that could be criminally abused at great harm to the campus or members of the campus community. Criminal background checks are not required for current employees unless the College is required by law to conduct a background investigation.  The hiring department is responsible for working with the Criminal Background Check Review Committee to determine whether or not a position is sensitive and for initiating the criminal background check process.  If the background check reveals a conviction relevant to the position, the individual may be disqualified from holding that position. Upon implementation of this policy, the Criminal Background Check Review Committee will construct a subcommittee to develop guidelines to be used in determining whether or not a position should be classified as sensitive.  The subcommittee will be comprised of wide representation and include faculty, staff, and administrators. Purpose of This Policy

In order to protect the campus community, students, staff, and guests, as well as to secure the integrity of the institution, the College needs to ensure that all applicants to sensitive positions in the College have no history of criminal behavior in the past seven years that could in any way jeopardize the safety, health, welfare, or fiscal security of the College community.  Criminal background checks are intended to reduce the likelihood of certain types of crimes occurring on the College's campus as well as to protect the College from legal exposure should such an action occur.  The College recognizes that its need to investigate employees' criminal history must be balanced with the need to protect those employees' privacy.  College policy and state and federal laws recognize the individual's right to privacy and prohibit campus employees and others from seeking, using, or disclosing personal information except within the scope of their assigned duties.

Purpose of This Policy

In order to protect the campus community, students, staff, and guests, as well as to secure the integrity of the institution, the College needs to ensure that all applicants to sensitive positions in the College have no history of criminal behavior in the past seven years that could in any way jeopardize the safety, health, welfare, or fiscal security of the College community.  Criminal background checks are intended to reduce the likelihood of certain types of crimes occurring on the College's campus as well as to protect the College from legal exposure should such an action occur.  The College recognizes that its need to investigate employees' criminal history must be balanced with the need to protect those employees' privacy.  College policy and state and federal laws recognize the individual's right to privacy and prohibit campus employees and others from seeking, using, or disclosing personal information except within the scope of their assigned duties.

Responsibilities

Hiring Departments:

  • Indicate on the Authorization to fill a Vacancy form whether or not the position is sensitive and requires a criminal background check.  Rationale for sensitive position determinations must be included.
  • Indicate on the Authorization to fill a Vacancy form the criminal convictions that are of primary concern for the vacant position.
  • If the vacant position is determined sensitive; make sure all recruitment information and announcements indicate the criminal background check requirements.
  • Notify the individual under consideration for a position that an offer of employment is conditional on successful completion of the criminal background check and that falsification of information submitted on College application materials may be cause for corrective action up to and including dismissal.
  • Notify the Office of Human Resources to initiate the criminal background check.
  • Maintain confidentiality of any applicant data and materials.

Performing a criminal background check does not relieve the hiring department of its obligation to perform reference checks, verify prior employment, obtain copies of licenses or certificates required for the specific position, and perform other checks.

Office of Human Resources:

  • Consults with departments about policy interpretation.
  • Facilitates the criminal background check process.
  • Works with the Criminal Background Check Review Committee to determine whether an individual is suited for employment based on the results of the criminal background check.
  • Provides the subjects of criminal background checks with a summary of their background check results, regardless of outcome, and informs them when a conviction disqualifies them from employment in a sensitive position.
  • Maintains confidentiality of criminal background check results.
  • Serves as the Office of Record for files concerning criminal background checks.

Office of Public Safety:

  • Upon request from the department, obtains a Pull Notice Review from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for employees who routinely drive campus vehicles on College business.
  • Maintains confidentiality of DMV Pull Notice Review results.

Criminal Background Check Review Committee:

  • Reviews only criminal background checks which reveal convictions that have occurred within the past seven years and determines within seven days whether such convictions disqualify individuals from the position for which they are applying.
  • Reviews appeal materials.

INITIATING A CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK FOR A SENSITIVE POSITION

The Office of Human Resources initiates a combined Maryland Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Background Check after the employment offer, but before for employment based on the results of the criminal background check.

  • Provides the subjects of criminal background checks with a summary of their background check results, regardless of outcome, and informs them when a conviction disqualifies them from employment in a sensitive position.
  • Maintains confidentiality of criminal background check results.
  • Serves as the Office of Record for files concerning criminal background checks.

Office of Public Safety:

  • Upon request from the department, obtains a Pull Notice Review from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for employees who routinely drive campus vehicles on College business.
  • Maintains confidentiality of DMV Pull Notice Review results.

Criminal Background Check Review Committee:

  • Reviews only criminal background checks which reveal convictions that have occurred within the past seven years and determines within seven days whether such convictions disqualify individuals from the position for which they are applying.
  • Reviews appeal materials.

INITIATING A CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK FOR A SENSITIVE POSITION

The Office of Human Resources initiates a combined Maryland Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Background Check after the employment offer, but before the first day of employment.  With the permission of senior administration, a selected candidate may begin employment with the College prior to the conclusion of a criminal background check. However, the criminal background check must be initiated no later than five days after a new employee's start date.  It is vital the applicant be informed that continued employment in the current position is contingent upon successful completion of both the DOJ and FBI background checks.

The hiring department must notify the individual under consideration in writing that the offer for employment is conditional upon successful completion of the DOJ/FBI background checks.  This notification must include a warning that falsification of information submitted on College application materials is cause for corrective action up to and including dismissal.

CONDUCTING A CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK

The hiring department completes the appropriate forms to initiate the background checks and obtains the completed Applicant Release and Disclosure Form.  The hiring department makes arrangements through the Office of Human Resources for the individual under consideration to complete the fingerprinting process.

Maryland State Police or the St. Mary's College of Maryland Office of Public Safety fingerprints the individual and completes the appropriate form(s).  The Office of Human Resources should receive the DOJ criminal background check information in three to seven days and the FBI information in approximately 30 days.

The Office of Human Resources notifies the hiring department if the results show no convictions so that the personnel action can be completed.  If the results show that convictions exist, the results are forwarded to the Criminal Background Check Review Committee for further action.

The subject of a background check is provided a summary of the background check results.

IF THE CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK REVEALS CONVICTIONS

A Criminal Background Check Review Committee (Review Committee) consisting of the Director of Human Resources, the Vice President for Business and Finance or designee, and the Provost or designee will be notified of all criminal background checks in which convictions are found.  The Review Committee will review these reports and make final determinations regarding the suitability of individuals for specific positions.  The Review Committee may recommend implementation of additional controls before a department can employ an individual with a conviction.  The Committee will complete its review within seven days of receiving notification from DOJ/FBI.

Only criminal convictions that have occurred within the past seven years will be considered by the Review Committee.  The Review Committee shall consult the Authorization to fill a Vacancy form for the list of convictions of primary concern and will use this list to guide their deliberations.  Results without conviction do not constitute valid grounds for employment decisions and cannot play a part in the decision-making process.  However, if an individual has a criminal case pending, his or her suitability for continued employment may be reviewed upon disposition of the case.  Certain types of convictions within the past seven years may automatically preclude hiring for certain positions.  For example, individuals with convictions for felony thefts, embezzlement, identity theft, or fraud cannot be hired into positions with fiduciary responsibilities.  Convictions for child molestation and other sex offenses will automatically preclude an individual from employment that involves direct unsupervised contact with students, outreach programs, or access to residence facilities.  Workplace or domestic violence, or other convictions for behaviors that would be inappropriate for specific jobs, may also be grounds for denial of employment.  The above list is not all inclusive, but is intended to illustrate the decision-making criteria.  In determining an individual's suitability for employment where the individual under consideration has convictions, the Review Committee will consider the specific duties of the position, the number of offenses and circumstances of each, and whether the offenses were disclosed on the application.

The Office of Human Resources will notify all applicants of the results of their criminal background check.  If the results of the criminal background check preclude an individual from employment, the Office of Human Resources will disclose to the subject the date(s) and the types of conviction(s) found in the criminal background check.  Subjects of background checks are always entitled to receive a summary of the background check from the Office of Human Resources.  The Office of Human Resources will provide subjects of criminal background checks with information regarding how they can obtain the same information directly from the DOJ.  The Office of Human Resources will give written notice and the name of the agency that conducted the background check to the individual when employment is denied based on information received from the reporting agency, as required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which also covers criminal background checks.  The Office of Human Resources will serve as the Office of Record for background check results. Candidates who have results returned that negatively impact the final hiring decision will have an opportunity to submit explanatory information for consideration by the College.  Such information will be given in writing to the Review Committee within ten business days of receiving a denial of employment based on the criminal background check results. The Review Committee will consider any explanatory information submitted for reconsideration. All decisions made at this level are final and are not eligible for appeal/grievance.  Appeal decisions will be provided to the candidate in writing within ten business days after the written submission of appeal.