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, volunteers, and students 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.

Who needs a background check

Background checks are conducted for the following individuals prior to the beginning of their assignment:

  1. New employees
  2. Returning employees: (a) after a one year break in service or (b) those not previously subjected to a background check
  3. Current employees beginning a substantially different position
  4. Volunteers
  5. Students working in Residence Life, Public Safety, or have the potential to interact one-on-one with minors
  6. Paid and unpaid individuals interacting with or overseeing minors in program activities or recreational or residential facilities.

Information Collected

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

New Hires:

  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. Human Resources will determine when during the final steps of the search process to conduct a criminal background check.
  4. Human Resources will coordinate the electronic background check 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 the results with the hiring manager or other advisors of the College. The applicant may request a copy of the background report that St. Olaf will receive. Results must be obtained prior to their first day.
  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.

Students:

  1. If the student is working with minors, or has the potential to interact one-on-one with minors, the supervisor must contact Human Resources to initiate the electronic background check process.
  2. Students working in Residence Life or Public Safety will be subject to a criminal background check through the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA). The BCA background checks are conducted through Public Safety. Supervisors must contact Public Safety to complete the background check paperwork.
  3. Results must be obtained prior to their first day.
  4. If applicable, Human Resources will coordinate a review of the results with the supervisor or other advisors of the College.
  5.  Items 5 through 9 in the New Hires section above may apply if unsatisfactory results are received.

Volunteers/Others:

  1. After the supervisor completes the volunteer registration form, Human Resources will initiate the electronic background check process.
  2. Results must be obtained prior to their first day.
  3. If applicable, Human Resources will coordinate a review of the results with the supervisor or other advisors of the College.
  4. Items 5 through 9 in the New Hires section above may apply if unsatisfactory results are received.