Background Check Policy

St. Olaf College is committed to providing a safe and secure campus for its students, staff and faculty, and to protecting the material resources of the College.  As part of our strategy to achieve this goal, the College conducts background checks on all new St. Olaf staff and faculty, on those employees who move to a substantially different position on campus, and students and volunteers in certain positions. Background checks are conducted to confirm the accuracy of the information received and to ensure that the College has taken reasonable care in selecting its new staff and faculty and in placing students and volunteers.

Policy and Procedures:

As a condition of employment, background checks are conducted prior to new employees beginning their employment, after a one year break in service for returning employees or before current employees begin a new position.  Background information collected by St. Olaf may include a criminal background check, verification of educational credentials, employment history, social security number, credit report, and professional references.  Employees who operate a College‑owned vehicle and/or transport either people or materials for the College will also be subject to a motor vehicle and driving record check. The College reserves the right to make the sole determination concerning the significance of information received from these checks and any employment decisions arising from them.

Procedures:

  1. All employment postings will include the following statement:  “To provide a safe and secure educational environment, St. Olaf College verifies the accuracy of all credentials presented by applicants and conducts a criminal background check on every new employee.”
  2. Before an offer is made, Human Resources or the Hiring Manager will confirm the candidate’s previous employment and will contact professional references regarding the candidate’s qualifications for the prospective position with St. Olaf.
  3. The College will determine when during the search process to conduct a criminal background check.  At this point applicants will be provided a form providing information regarding the background check to be performed and will be asked to authorize the College to procure such a report. The applicant may request a copy of the background report that St. Olaf will receive.
  4. The Office of Human Resources will coordinate the consent form process, assure that a timely request for information is made to a third party vendor or to law enforcement agencies, receive the initial results of the background check and, if applicable, coordinate a review of those results with the hiring manager or other advisors of the College.
  5. The existence of a criminal conviction does not automatically disqualify an individual from employment. The nature and number of the convictions, the amount of time that has passed since the last date of offense and (if applicable) the last date of incarceration, the relationship the conviction has to the duties and responsibilities of the position, and the candidate’s conduct and rehabilitation efforts since conviction may also be taken into account in the hiring decision.
  6. If the background check reveals findings relevant to the position which might factor in a decision not to hire, Human Resources will send the candidate a Pre-Adverse Action Notice along with a copy of the report and a notice of the individual’s rights under the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act).
  7. If the candidate believes the report provided to the College is inaccurate, the College will give the candidate a reasonable period of time to refute the disputed information with the vendor.  If the candidate does not dispute the accuracy of the report or if the matter is not adequately resolved with the vendor in a timely manner, the candidate will be given a Final Adverse Action Notice and the hiring manager may proceed with the hiring process with a different candidate.
  8. If the decision is made not to hire a candidate and the information obtained in the background information factored in any way in this decision, a Final Adverse Action Notice will be mailed notifying the candidate of the decision and providing the candidate with an additional copy of the background report and notice of the individual’s rights under FCRA.
  9. All information received through a background check will be maintained by Human Resources in a confidential, secure file, separate from the applicant’s file or, if hired, the personnel file, which may be accessed only by those who have a bona fide need to know.