Main page content
Sec. 1 Purpose
To establish background check practices as required and permitted by law and U. T. System Administration (U.T. System) policy. Background checks consist of criminal history, prior employment verification, educational verification, personal and professional references, and motor vehicle records.
Sec. 2 Principles
UT System and the Office of Talent and Innovation (OTI) are committed to ensuring the safety, security, and integrity of all those representing or affiliated with the organization.
Background checks will be used in accordance with federal and state law and UT System policies to ensure all employees, contractors, volunteers, and persons of interest have provided true and accurate information and do not represent a threat to our values.
Sec. 3. Criminal History Check
3.1 Applicability. A criminal history check must be conducted on any individual who will perform work for the U. T. System. This includes prospective employees, current employees, unpaid interns, contractors, volunteers, and Persons of Interest (POI). An individual will satisfy the criminal history check requirement if completed within the past twelve (12) months with no break in service of more than six (6) months.
The following authorized criminal history check sources may be used, as appropriate:
a) the Texas Department of Public Safety (TxDPS) Crime Records Service – Secure Site;
b) a private vendor; and/or
c) other state, national, and international agencies.
Where state or federal law requires that a position be subject to a criminal history check using a specific source of criminal history check information and/or certain procedures, U. T. System will comply with such laws.
3.2 Federal Agency Checks. U.T. System may rely on a criminal history check conducted by a federal government agency to satisfy the requirements of this policy for an individual on assignment from a federal agency if the U.T. System receives documentation from that federal agency showing that the federal agency conducted a criminal history check with a sex offender registration check.
3.3 Other Checks. Additionally, U.T. System will rely on information obtained from the US government through the visa process or permanent, temporary residency and educational history for anyone who has lived outside the United States since the age of 17.
3.4 A criminal history check will include the following:
a) County Criminal Record Search;
b) Nationwide Criminal Record Search;
c) Federal Criminal Record Search;
d) Office of Foreign Assets Control Search;
e) Department of Justice Sex Offender Search;
f) Social Security Trace; and
g) Location Search.
3.5 Current Employees. A criminal history check must be conducted on:
a) a current employee who is transferring from one position to another, except students transferring between hourly appointment and student associate positions;
b) all current employees, contractors, volunteers, unpaid interns, and POIs if U. T. System has not previously obtained a criminal history check; and
c) a current employee when the chancellor, or their designee, determines it is necessary to further the goals of the U. T. System.
3.6 Procedure. Upon a department’s notification to OTI via the applicable PeopleSoft eForm, OTI will initiate the criminal history check.
a) The selected individual will provide the required information, authorization, and consent to the criminal history search.
i. An individual (including a current employee) who fails to provide authorization and consent and/or the required information will be removed from consideration for the position and/or subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination.
b) Hiring Managers/Departments will allow sufficient time for the completion of background checks before the selected individual begins performing work for U.T. System.
i. In an approved extenuating circumstance, an individual may begin performing work contingent upon the satisfactory completion of a criminal history check.
c) Existing employees must notify the Office of Talent and Innovation (OTI) of criminal history changes in accordance with Sec. 3.12b.
d) U. T. System may conduct a public site search without an individual’s knowledge or consent.
3.7 No Automatic Disqualification for Criminal Background.
Except as outlined in 3.8, an individual with a criminal record will not automatically be disqualified from employment, appointment, or privileges. Criminal background information will be reviewed by the Chief Human Resources Officer and the Director of Police, or their designees, to determine whether there is a disqualifying offense under this section.
Individuals with a criminal history will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and the following factors will be considered:
a) nature of the crime and its relationship to the position;
b) number of offenses;
c) time since the conviction;
d) employment history; and
e) efforts at rehabilitation.
3.8 U. T. System will not hire, continue to employ, appoint or assign an individual if the information is obtained that the individual has been convicted or placed on deferred adjudication for an offense that would require:
a) the individual to register as a sex offender under Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure, which includes, but is not limited to, such offenses as Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Young Child; Sexual Assault; Aggravated Sexual Assault; or
b) an offense under the laws of another state or federal law that is equivalent to an offense requiring such registration;
c) unless the hiring/appointing official as appropriate articulates a compelling justification; OTI and the chancellor or designee concurs; and the individual has no higher than a level one (low) risk as determined by the risk assessment screening tool implemented pursuant to Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure. If no such risk level is assigned, then the risk level cannot exceed a low risk as determined by the U. T. System Director of Police.
3.9 Falsification or Omission of Criminal History Information. Falsification in an application or omission of criminal history information required to be reported is grounds to reject an applicant or discipline, up to termination, for a current employee.
3.10 Notice Requirement
a) If U. T. System receives a report indicating that an individual has a criminal record, the individual will be notified, provided with a copy of the report, except as provided by law, policy or procedure, informed of the right to challenge the accuracy and completeness of the report with the agency that provided the report and informed that they have the opportunity to submit additional information relating to the criminal record and why it should not affect an employment decision.
b) If U. T. System has used a third-party vendor credit reporting agency to conduct criminal record checks, the resulting report is considered a “consumer report” under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). If such a report is relied on to deny employment, deny a promotion, reassign, or terminate an employee, the individual will be provided with a specific pre-adverse action disclosure that includes a copy of the individual's consumer report and a copy of "A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act," a document prescribed by the Federal Trade Commission. The credit reporting agency that furnishes the individual's report is required to give U. T. System the summary of consumer rights (http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre35.pdf).
3.11 Opportunity to Respond
a) Within five business days following the receipt of the report as provided in Sec. 3.10a, the individual may submit additional information to the appropriate designated party relating to the criminal record and why it should not affect the appointment or employment decision.
b) Before the hiring official makes a final appointment or employment decision, they will review all information provided to them with OTI and consult about whether to proceed with an offer or adverse employment action.
c) If OTI’s recommendation does not align with the hiring official’s decision to proceed with the appointment or employment decision due to the criminal history check, prior written approval from the applicable executive officer or their designee is required prior to extending an offer or continue employment.
d) If the results indicate the individual has an offense described in Sec. 3.8a and b, the individual is not qualified for employment or appointment unless the conditions are met, and the approvals are obtained as stated in Sec. 3.8c.
e) External Individuals. The final decision of U. T. System may not be appealed.
f) Current Employees. If the individual is a current employee subject to a criminal history check, standard employee grievance procedures are available to challenge the employment decision. If the criminal record leads to termination, the applicable employee discipline and discharge procedure will be used.
g) Post-Decision Disclosure. When Private Vendor Services Used to Conduct Criminal Background Check. If a consumer report has been relied on to deny employment, deny a promotion, reassign, or terminate an employee after the institution has taken an adverse action, the individual must be notified that the action has been taken. It must include:
i) the name, address, and phone number of the credit reporting agency that supplied the report;
ii) a statement that the credit reporting agency that supplied the report did not make the decision to take the adverse action and cannot give specific reasons for it; and
iii) a notice of the individual's right to dispute the accuracy or completeness of any information the agency furnished and their right to an additional free consumer report from the agency upon request within 60 days.
a) Applicants for Employment. Applicants must report in writing any criminal complaint, indictment, no contest plea, guilty plea, deferred adjudication, or conviction (and whether registered as a sex offender or will be required to register as a sex offender), excluding traffic offenses punishable only by fine, occurring after the date of application within five business days.
b) Current Employees. U. T. System employees are required to report to their department head in writing, within five business days, any criminal complaint, indictment, no contest plea, guilty plea, deferred adjudication, or criminal conviction (and whether registered as a sex offender or will be required to register as a sex offender), excluding those for misdemeanor offenses punishable only by fine. Failure to do so is a violation of policy and may lead to disciplinary action as appropriate.
c) Department Head Obligation. The U. T. System department head receiving a self-report as required under this section must provide that information to OTI and consult about the individual’s suitability for the position.
3.13 Non-Discrimination. U. T. System will not use any information obtained in the course of a criminal history check to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.
Sec. 4. Prior Employment Verification
Prior employment verification confirms a selected candidate’s employment history with the listed companies. This includes, but is not limited to, dates of employment and position(s) held.
4.1 Applicability. Prior employment will be verified for all external job candidates selected for employment (excluding hourly appointments).
4.2 Procedure. Upon a department’s notification to OTI that a candidate has been selected for employment, OTI will initiate the prior employment verification. The selected candidate will provide OTI with the required information, authorization, and consent to the prior employment verification. An individual who fails to provide authorization and consent and the required information will be removed from consideration for the position.
Sec.5 Educational Verification
Educational verification confirms the selected candidate’s claimed educational institution(s) and degree(s)/diploma(s)/certificate(s) received.
5.1 Applicability. Educational verification will be performed for all external job candidates selected for employment and current employees transferring from one position to another if there are new academic credentials since their last verification (students transferring between Hourly Appointment and Student Associate positions are exempt).
5.2 Procedure. Upon a department’s notification to OTI that a candidate has been selected for employment, OTI will initiate the educational verification. The selected candidate will provide OTI required information, authorization, and consent to the educational verification. An individual who fails to provide authorization and consent and the required information will be removed from consideration for the position.
Sec. 6 Professional References Check
Reference checks obtain information about a candidate’s previous work experience, including but not limited to soft skills, professional and interpersonal work history.
6.1 Applicability. Professional references are a factor to be considered for all external job candidates selected for employment. Any unfavorable reference report must be reviewed and approved by OTI.
6.2 Procedure. Upon a department’s notification to OTI that a candidate has been selected for employment, OTI will initiate the professional reference check. The selected candidate will provide OTI required information and consent to the reference check. An individual who fails to provide consent and the required information will be removed from consideration for the position.
Sec. 7 Motor Vehicle Records
Motor Vehicle Records (MVR) include driving records and public safety data to determine if a candidate is a safe driver.
7.1 Applicability. An MVR check will be performed for any individual operating a motor vehicle owned by U.T. System. An MVR may also be performed for an individual who is not operating a motor vehicle owned by U.T. System but who regularly operates a motor vehicle in the course of performing U.T. System business.
7.2 Procedure. U.T. System departments must notify OTI when a position requires operating a motor vehicle as stated in Sec. 7.1. Upon notification, OTI will initiate the MVR check. The individual will provide OTI required information, authorization, and consent to the MVR check. An individual who fails to provide authorization, consent, and the required information will not be permitted to operate a U. T. System vehicle and may not be permitted to regularly operate a motor vehicle in performing U. T. System business.
Sec. 8 Falsification or Omission of Background Check Information
Subject to standard grievance and disciplinary procedures as applicable, falsification or omission of any portion of the background check process (criminal history, employment verification, educational verification, reference check, and motor vehicle records) or failure to report as required by this policy or law is a violation of this policy and may lead to disciplinary action up to and including termination or result in dismissal from the application process, as applicable.
Sec. 9 Retention of Criminal History Check Records
9.1 Confidential Records. Records obtained from a criminal background check database will be regarded as confidential as required by law and will not be made a part of the applicant's file or the employee's personnel file. The information will be kept in a separate secure file and will not be communicated to any unauthorized person.
9.2 Criminal History Record Information. Under Texas Government Code Section 411.085, the unauthorized release of criminal history record information, information obtained from the TxDPS secure site consisting of identifiable descriptions and notations of arrests, detentions, indictments, information, and other formal criminal charges and their dispositions, is a criminal offense and, consequently, U. T. System officials in possession of such information shall seek legal advice concerning any requested release of such information.
9.3 Destruction of Records Obtained from a Criminal Background Check Database. Records will be destroyed in a timely manner and in accordance with state and federal regulations
9.4 Self-Reports. Self-reports of charges or convictions, as required by this policy, will be maintained with the employee’s personnel file in OTI in accordance with U. T. System’s records retention schedule.
Sec. 10 Self Reporting
OTI will ensure that all job advertisements and postings for U. T. System include a statement indicating the position is security sensitive and the employer is authorized to obtain a background check, including criminal history record information.
Applicant - an individual who applies for a position with U. T. System, whether the individual is an outside candidate or a current employee.
Appointment – Any position assigned at U.T. System that does not necessarily require an employment application, such as a person of interest, volunteer, unpaid intern, contractor, or university affiliate.
Criminal Conviction Record Information - public information maintained by the Texas Department of Public Safety, as provided in Texas Government Code Section 411.135.
Criminal History Record Information - information collected about a person by a criminal justice agency that consists of identifiable descriptions and notations of arrests, detentions, indictments, information, and other formal criminal charges and their dispositions, as more fully described in Texas Government Code Section 411.082.
National Criminal History Record Check (NCHRC) - a criminal history record check obtained from both the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Federal Bureau of Investigation based on fingerprint identification information, or a criminal record check obtained from a private vendor based on national criminal records.
Person of Interest (POI) – any individual performing work for U.T. System (either on or off U.T. System property), including any individual granted access to U.T. System technology resources. Individuals who are paid by U.T. System payroll and who receive a W-2 are not considered POIs.
Position - both full-time and part-time positions, whether the position is filled or to be filled by a regular or a temporary worker or requires student status as a condition of holding the position, but not including a position filled by a temporary worker provided by a temporary employment agency; the employment agency is expected to conduct and will be responsible for conducting the criminal background check.