Willamette University seeks to provide a safe and inclusive environment for students, faculty, staff, volunteers, and visitors. To this end, Willamette University requires that employees, volunteers, and certain other members of the Willamette community submit to background checks. This procedure serves to ensure background checks are conducted in a way that furthers this goal.
Responsible Office: Willamette University’s Human Resources Office is solely authorized to conduct and oversee the Background Check process.
Offers of Employment/Volunteer Opportunities/Re-Employment: All offers of employment for faculty and staff positions will be contingent on successfully passing a background check. Offers of employment to student employees will be contingent on successfully passing a background check if the student employee will work with minors. As well, to volunteer for the University on campus and with students, a person must successfully pass a background check. Other people living or performing work on campus, such as Area Coordinator partners or affiliated faculty, must also successfully pass a background check. Background checks will be conducted using a contracted third party and/or appropriate law enforcement agencies.
Confidentiality: Information secured for the purpose of extending, maintaining, or retracting an offer of employment or an opportunity to volunteer will be confidentially maintained by the Human Resources Office. For the purpose of making decisions, report contents or portions of the content will be shared with the Background Check Committee, which is comprised of members from Human Resources, Campus Safety, and Student Affairs, or their designees. The report content may also be shared with other appropriate employees who have a legitimate need to know as determined by the Department Head of Human Resources.
Timing: Only employment candidates that have advanced to the interview stage of consideration will be asked to complete the background check authorization and disclosure form. Volunteers will be asked to complete the background check authorization and disclosure form before beginning to volunteer. Candidates and volunteers who decline to undergo a background check will be disqualified from further consideration. Current employees may be required to have a background check if they have a break in service.
Information Considered: The Background Check Committee will not consider arrest information unless the arrest resulted in pending criminal charges. In such circumstances, the applicant and/or law enforcement agencies will be contacted to obtain further information in order to assess the relevance to the position in question. The Background Check Committee will consider convictions disclosed by the applicant or revealed via the process to determine if an employment offer or volunteer opportunity should be extended, maintained, or withdrawn. The presence of a conviction does not automatically preclude an individual from employment or volunteering.
Relevance of Convictions: A conviction will not automatically preclude an individual from employment or volunteer consideration. Willamette will consider various factors in evaluating whether a conviction warrants revoking a conditional offer of employment or precluding volunteering for the university. Those factors include:
- Nature and frequency of the offense(s);
- Time since conviction;
- Completion of sentence or any other remediation; and
- Relevancy to the position for which the candidate is being considered.
Withdrawal of Employment Offer/Volunteer Opportunity: Willamette reserves the right to not make or to withdraw an offer of employment/volunteer opportunity if the nature of or facts related to a conviction and/or the number or frequency of the convictions is inconsistent with employment/volunteering at an educational institution seeking to provide a safe learning and working environment for its students and employees, or could harm the reputation of the University or relates to the duties and responsibilities of the position.
Rights of Prospective Employee/Volunteer: The prospective employee/volunteer has the following rights:
- To know the content of the background check report;
- To obtain a copy of the report;
- To challenge the accuracy and completeness of the information in the report; and
- To know if the reason for not being hired is a result of the background check.
Duty to Disclose: With the exception of minor traffic violations (unless the position requires a motor vehicle record check), an applicant will be automatically disqualified from further consideration if they fail to accurately and fully complete the Background Check Authorization Form.
Process: When a background report reveals conviction(s), Human Resources will contact the applicant to provide an opportunity to provide information about the conviction(s). Then, Human Resources will convene the Background Check Committee to consider the background report, the information provided by the applicant, and the factors set forth above, as well as information from the supervisor, as appropriate, to make a determination about whether to extend/withdraw an offer of employment/volunteer opportunity. When appropriate, the Background Check Committee may invite the applicant to speak with the Committee. The Background Check Committee will make a decision about how to proceed based on the decision of a majority of the members and this decision will be communicated to the candidate by Human Resources.
Status: This policy was approved in 2019
Effective Date: 11/1/2019
Last Revision Date: 2023
Last Review Date: 2019
Next Anticipated Review: 11/2020
Responsible University Office: Human Resources