Policy Number: VII-1.15(A)
University of Maryland Policy on Criminal Background Checks
(Approved by the President on an interim basis effective Amended and approved )
This Policy outlines the University of Maryland’s (“the University”) use of criminal background checks to support a safe and secure campus environment in order to protect students, employees, property, information, and the public, as well as to enable prudent employment decisions based on comprehensive information. This Policy establishes the University’s use of criminal background checks in compliance with the University System of Maryland (USM) Policy on Criminal Background Checks for Faculty and Staff Employees (VII-1.15).
- “Affected Individual” means those individuals required to undergo a Criminal Background Check in alignment with this Policy. This includes:
- A Finalist;
- Current employees at another USM institution who are selected for employment at the University of Maryland; and
- A returning University employee with a break in service of eighteen (18) months or more.
- “Criminal Background Check” means a review of various aspects of an Affected Individual's background including, but not limited to criminal background, educational background, a trace of an individual’s social security number, and driving and credit histories, based on the employment position.
- “Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS) Record History” means a criminal background check completed by the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services of all criminal history information related to an individual that is maintained by the CJIS Central Repository, consistent with the requirements of the Maryland Annotated Code, Criminal Procedure Article, Sections 10-201 et seq. A CJIS Record History is based upon national and state criminal history records and uses an individual’s fingerprints and other identifying information.
- “Finalist” means a candidate who meets the minimum qualifications for a specific position at the University and who has been extended a conditional offer of employment.
III. SCOPE AND APPLICABILITY
- Mandatory Criminal Background Checks: Under state and federal law, institutions are required to obtain and review CJIS Record History for their employees under specific circumstances. To meet its obligation under state and federal law, the University conducts CJIS Record History checks in alignment with the circumstances outlined within the USM Policy on Criminal Background Checks for Faculty and Staff Employees (VII-1.15).
- Permissive Criminal Background Checks: In addition to the circumstances under which the University is required by law to obtain and review CJIS Record History, the University exercises its discretion to require Criminal Background Checks under the conditions below:
- A Criminal Background Check is required for every Affected Individual.
- Permissive Criminal Background Checks will not be conducted on current University employees as a condition of continued employment, unless otherwise required by the University.
- Criminal Background Checks will not be conducted on a current University employee who has accepted or is appointed to a new position with the University as part of selection, promotion, transfer, reclassification, or reevaluation processes, unless otherwise required by law, position duties, or is otherwise required by the University.
- Criminal Background Checks will be conducted for the following positions:
- All paid full-time and part-time: tenured and tenure-track faculty, professional-track faculty, adjunct faculty, permanent status and permanent status-track faculty, and faculty holding administrative positions.
- All Regular and Contingent Exempt and Non-Exempt Staff.
- Volunteers may also be considered Affected Individuals subject to a Criminal Background Check when circumstances warrant.
IV. RIGHT TO REFUSE OR TERMINATE EMPLOYMENT
- Offers of employment are conditional on the Affected Individual’s completion of a Criminal Background Check.
- The University reserves the right to rescind an offer of employment or otherwise refuse or terminate employment for any Affected Individual whose criminal background is deemed incompatible with the position they are seeking, regardless of when the Criminal Background Check is completed.
- Any Affected Individual who provides false or misleading information will be eliminated from further consideration of any position within the University for three (3) years. If false or misleading information is discovered after the Affected Individual has been appointed in a faculty or staff position, this will be considered grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including termination, pursuant to the appropriate dismissal procedures.
V. UNIVERSITY RESPONSIBILITIES
- University Human Resources and the Office of Faculty Affairs are responsible for developing standards and procedures for the acquisition and use of Criminal Background Checks, consistent with this Policy.
- The University will ensure that all records pertaining to Criminal Background Checks are maintained securely and kept separate from personnel records. Criminal Background Check records will be maintained on a confidential basis to the maximum extent required by law.
- In compliance with federal and state law, this Policy prohibits the University and its employees from using a CJIS Record History or the information obtained from Criminal Background Checks to make employment decisions that discriminate based on race, color, sex, pregnancy, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital status, age, national origin, political affiliation, physical or mental disability, religion, protected veteran status, genetic information, personal appearance, or any other legally protected status.
- The University reserves the right to determine an Affected Individual’s suitability for a position based on the information reported by the Criminal Background Check vendor and other information provided by the Affected Individual to the University. The University will not deny employment to an Affected Individual based solely on a record of arrest in the absence of a conviction, other criminal penalty, or substantiation of facts underlying the arrest which relate to the Affected Individual’s fitness to perform the duties of the job.
- University Human Resources will provide training to the individuals involved in the review of Criminal Background Check information on the appropriate methods for acquiring, using, and maintaining Criminal Background Check information.
VI. GUIDING PRINCIPLES
- The review of Criminal Background Check results shall be guided by principles that are consistent with the University’s values and its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and that recognize factors such as systemic oppression and criminalization in the legal system that affect marginalized communities.
- The following should guide the University’s implementation of this Policy:
- The scope of Criminal Background Checks should be guided by industry best practices, and the specific time period considered by the University should be conveyed to all candidates on the job posting.
- The review of Criminal Background Check information should be conducted centrally by University Human Resources, and should be kept confidential from the direct Hiring Official for the position in question.
- The Affected Individual may dispute the accuracy or completeness of the information included in their Criminal Background Check, and will be given an opportunity to provide additional information for the University’s consideration.
- Consideration of Criminal Background Check information should be guided by an assessment of the duties of the position and the totality of the circumstances.
Related USM Policies
VI – 1.50 Policy on the Reporting of Suspected Child Abuse and NeglectVII – 1.01 Policy on Recruitment and Selection VII – 1.15 Policy on Criminal Background Checks for Faculty and Staff Employees VII – 1.24 Policy on Termination with Prejudice