Criminal Background Checks
for members of the Franklin & Marshall community
Newly Appointed Staff Members-- The College completes a background check on behalf of newly appointed members of the exempt and non-exempt professional staff and College volunteers, to help assure the safety of members of the campus community. Franklin & Marshall conducts a criminal records check, including a search of a Sex Offender Registry. Background checks are conducted immediately upon hire and before a newly appointed staff member may begin working on campus. All full-time, part-time, temporary, and unpaid (volunteer) staff appointments are contingent upon satisfactory completion of a criminal records check. The newly appointed staff member is required to provide written authorization for the criminal records check as a condition of continued employment. Human Resources initiates and coordinates these checks.
Those Working with Minors-- The College also conducts a criminal records check and check of a Sex Offender Registry for Franklin & Marshall faculty, professional staff, College volunteers, and Franklin & Marshall students who, during the course of their College employment or in conjunction with their educational program, will supervise non-F&M students who are under the age of 18 or have not yet completed high school. Franklin & Marshall faculty, professional staff, and College volunteers must notify Human Resources at least 2 months in advance of when they will begin their work with a minor. Human Resources will then initiate the background check. Franklin & Marshall students are to notify the Office of the Dean of the College at least 2 months in advance of their work with minors, so a background check can be initiated. (See the Protection of Minors Policy.)
Criminal background checks include:
- validation of the individual’s Social Security Number,
- a search for felony and misdemeanor convictions from the records of up to 10 county criminal courts, from the past 7 years,
- a check of the Sex Offender Registry
Child Abuse Clearance and Additional Checks
Additional records checks may be required when a member of the faculty, staff, College volunteer, or Franklin & Marshall student will be performing service in a K – 12 school, depending on the policies of that school. Such checks may include a child abuse clearance, Pennsylvania criminal background check, and/or FBI fingerprint clearance. Anyone working in a K – 12 school in conjunction with their Franklin & Marshall employment or course of study is to follow the policies of the K – 12 school.
Human Resources will coordinate these background checks, if required.
Consumer Credit History
The College conducts a consumer credit history check for staff hired to work in the Business Office, Finance Office, or Investment Office, and for staff who will receive, handle, or manage cash on behalf of the College. The individual may not begin his/her College employment until the check is completed. Human Resources coordinates these checks.
The College verifies credentials if a professional license or a degree is required for the position for which a member of the professional staff has been hired. Human Resources coordinates these checks.
Motor Vehicle Records Check
The College conducts a motor vehicle / driving records check for faculty, professional staff, students, and volunteers who must drive a College or personal vehicle for College business. A 3-year driving history is obtained. Such checks are conducted per the College’s Vehicle Safety Policy. College-required background / records checks are conducted at the College’s expense.
If a member of the College’s staff is convicted of a relevant felony or misdemeanor during the course of his/her employment, the employee is to promptly report the conviction to the Director or Associate Director, Human Resources. Relevant convictions are those that may negatively impact the individual’s ability to safely and effectively perform all job duties. Self-reports will be evaluated as summarized below.
Fair Credit Reporting Act
The College uses a Consumer Reporting Agency to obtain background information, and does so in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act and Consumer Credit Reform Act of 1996. The College only initiates a background check after first providing notice to the individual, and obtaining the individual’s written authorization. Individuals receive notice of their rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act and Consumer Credit Reform Act at the time the background check is initiated. The College then coordinates the check through a Consumer Reporting Agency.
Criminal records reports for College employees are returned to Human Resources by the Consumer Reporting Agency, and are kept in locked, confidential files in the Human Resources office, separate from employees’ personnel files (criminal records reports for part-time personnel employed within the Floyd Institute are maintained by the Office Manager, Floyd Institute). Reports are shared by Human Resources only on a strict need-to-know basis, and only relevant information from reports is shared. If a report includes information about a felony or misdemeanor conviction relevant to the position for which the staff member has been appointed or holds, information regarding the conviction may be shared, as necessary, with the employee’s manager and/or Senior Officer. Human Resources may consult with legal counsel when appropriate. The least amount of information necessary will be shared. The Office of the Dean of the College maintains reports for students.
When considering the appropriateness of continued employment, the individual’s manager and/or Senior Officer and the Director, Human Resources will consider felony and misdemeanor convictions to the extent they relate to suitability for employment in the position for which the individual has been appointed or holds. Felony or misdemeanor convictions relevant to the position for which an employee has been hired or currently holds may be grounds for immediate discharge. Items to be considered when determining relevance include the type of offence committed, the recency of the conviction and the pertinence of the conviction to the position with the College.
As noted above, the College conducts a criminal background check for current employees, College volunteers, and students who will work with minors in conjunction with their responsibilities to Franklin & Marshall. If a records check reveals a criminal conviction which raises concerns about an individual’s ability to safely interact with a minor, the individual’s manager and/or Senior Officer; the Provost or his/her designee (for faculty) or the Dean of the College or his/her designee (for students); and the Director, Human Resources, will determine whether the individual is permitted to interact with a minor. The sponsor of the program or event involving minors may also be consulted as appropriate, as well as legal counsel, with the least amount of information necessary being shared. The safety and well-being of the minor will be the highest consideration when making a determination. The individual may be prohibited from interacting with a minor in conjunction with his/her responsibilities to Franklin & Marshall based on prior relevant felony or misdemeanor convictions. Additional employment actions may be taken based on the nature of the conviction and the individual’s position with the College. Faculty matters will be handled per procedures outlined in the Faculty Handbook. In the event adverse action is taken, the individual will be provided with the notices referenced above.
Employment Applications / Falsification of Records
If a member of the College’s staff did not disclose a conviction on his/her Franklin & Marshall College application for employment and is found to have been convicted of a criminal offense, employment will generally be terminated immediately, to the extent permitted by law, due to falsification of an employment record.
Policy Maintained by: Human Resources, Associate Vice President
Last Reviewed: July 25, 2016