Background Checks

Section: 
Human Resources
Policy Number: 
303
Effective: 
Tuesday, January 1, 2019
Last Revised: 
Thursday, July 1, 2021
Policy: 

South Puget Sound Community College believes that hiring qualified individuals contributes to our overall strategic success. Conducting background checks on prospective employees serves as an important part of the selection process.

South Puget Sound Community College will consider convictions within the guidelines of the law. Prospective employees or volunteers with a conviction(s) on their record will be considered on a case-by-case basis for appointment.

In collaboration with the senior hiring administrator, the Executive Human Resource Officer will take into consideration the department and position, the nature and gravity of the offense, and the time that has passed since the conviction. Any applicant that is not appointed because of a prior conviction may appeal the decision in writing to the Executive Human Resource Officer within 14 calendar days of receiving written notice of the decision.

Purpose: 

To ensure South Puget Sound Community College promotes a safe and secure work and learning environment for our current and future employees and students.

In order to provide a safe and secure environment for the campus community consistent with Washington law, including RCW 43.43.815 (Conviction Records Furnished to Employer), RCW 43.43.830-845 (Child and Adult Abuse Information Act) RCW 10.97 (Criminal Records Privacy Act), RCW 9.96A.020, (Employment, Occupational Licensing by Public Entity, Prior Felony Conviction No Disqualification – Exceptions); RCW 49.94 (Job Applicants – Criminal Records); and WAC 162-12-14 (Pre-employment Inquiries), South Puget Sound Community College will conduct pre-employment background verifications on final candidates recommended for full-time and  part-time permanent positions, as well as hourly/temporary, volunteers, independent contractors and specific student employment positions.

Conviction data records will be obtained through a contracted company that conducts criminal background checks both in state and globally.  In addition, SPSCC may for certain positions, require credit reports.

To Whom Does This Policy Apply: 

This policy applies to all finalist candidates for full-time and part-time permanent positions, as well as hourly/temporary, specific student appointments (see Student Employment Exceptions below), independent contractors and volunteers. 

Background Checks and Declaration Regarding Sexual Misconduct

Purpose

Pursuant to RCW 28B.112.080, applicants must declare whether they are the subject of any substantiated findings of sexual misconduct in any current or former employment or is currently being investigated for, or have left a position during an investigation into, a violation of any sexual misconduct policy at the applicant’s current or past employers.  By law, the College cannot hire an applicant who does not complete the declaration form.

Prior to an official offer of employment to an applicant, HR must request in writing, electronic or otherwise, that the applicant's current and past postsecondary educational institution employers provide the information about any sexual misconduct committed by the applicant and all documents in the previous employer's personnel, investigative, or other files relating to sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment, by the applicant. HR will send the request and it shall include a copy of the declaration and statement signed by the applicant.

Process

Full-Time Hires:

The committee chairperson will notify the Recruiter of the candidate they would like to offer employment.  The Recruiter will email the candidate the Declaration Regarding Sexual Misconduct Form.  Once the Recruiter receives the completed form from the candidate, the Recruiter will contact the HR Department of any Postsecondary Educational Institutions by email or phone.  The Recruiter will track contact attempts to these institutions.  If no sexual misconduct materials were found, the Recruiter will file in their personnel file and initiate an official offer letter to the candidate.  If the employer indicated that sexual misconduct materials are available, the Recruiter will forward the form to the Executive Human Resource Officer for further evaluation.

Part-Time Hourly and Adjunct Faculty Hires:

After receiving a PAF to hire a candidate, the Human Resource Consultant Assistant 2 (HRCA 2) will ask candidates to complete the Declaration Regarding Sexual Misconduct Form as part of their new hire paperwork. Once the HRCA2 receives the completed form from the candidate, the HRCA 2 will contact the HR Department of any Postsecondary Educational Institutions by email or phone.  The HRCA 2 will track contact attempts to these institutions.  If no sexual misconduct materials were found, the HRCA 2 will file in their personnel file.  If the employer indicated that sexual misconduct materials are available, the HRCA2 will forward the form to the Executive Human Resource Officer for further evaluation.

If SPSCC receives a request for information about a former employee of the college regarding sexual misconduct, HR will respond to the request.  HR will maintain a spreadsheet that contains the names of employees who have been investigated for sexual misconduct while employed with the college and the location of those files.  Prior to releasing records, all names other than the former Employees’ name will be redacted. 

Any SPSCC Employee who is contacted for a reference check which includes but is not limited to an inquiry regarding sexual misconduct on an SPSCC employee or former SPSCC employee must refer the employer to HR so that SPSCC can comply with RCW 28B.112.080 and provide any history of sexual misconduct.

Student Employment Exceptions

Two additional conditions of employment pertain to student employees. A pre-employment background check is required if a student employee will or may work in the following areas as part of their employment:

  1. Any prospective student employee who will or may have unsupervised access to children under sixteen years of age or developmentally disabled persons or vulnerable adults during the course of his or her employment with the college.
  1. Any prospective student employee who will or may drive a state or college owned vehicle during the course of his or her employment with the college.