Handbook of Operating Procedures 5-1140
Criminal Background Checks
The University of Texas at Austin
Executive Sponsor: Vice President for University Operations
May 8, 2003
- Policy Statement
The University of Texas at Austin ("University") strives to provide the safest possible environment for students, visitors, faculty, staff, and physical resources. In an effort to maintain a safe environment the University shall conduct criminal background checks on applicants hired for those positions designated security sensitive.
This policy applies to all applicants who are finalists for positions designated security sensitive. The associate vice president for human resource services shall be responsible for the identification of staff and non-academic student positions to be designated as security sensitive. The executive vice president and provost shall be responsible for the identification of faculty and student academic positions to be designated as security sensitive.
- Applicant is an individual who applies for an open position with the University, whether the individual is an outside candidate or a current employee of the University.
- Security sensitive position shall be restricted to those positions described in Texas Education Code 51.215 (c) and Texas Government Code 411.094 (a) (2), as those sections may be amended from time to time. Positions/areas determined to be security sensitive include those of executive and senior level administrators; those with responsibility for providing patient care or for providing child care in a child-care facility, as that term is defined in Texas Human Resources Code 42.002(3); and those with direct access to, or responsibility for, pharmaceuticals, select agents, or controlled substances. Other security sensitive positions will be designated as provided in Section B. (Other definitions available from Business Procedures Memorandum 29-11-02.)
- Position is both a full-time and part-time position, whether the position is filled or to be filled by a regular or a temporary worker, but not including a position filled by a temporary worker provided by a temporary employment agency. The employment agency should be expected to conduct and be held responsible for conducting the criminal background check.
- Criminal background check is information collected about a person by a criminal justice agency.
- All applicants for positions deemed security sensitive shall be required to have a criminal background check conducted prior to the first day of employment. Employment may not begin until the University has received the results of the background check.
- All positions designated to be security sensitive shall be so identified in the job description and advertisement for the position.
- Human Resource Services shall be responsible for conducting the criminal background check.
- The local hiring authority in consultation with Human Resource Services and/or the Provost’s Office shall be responsible for making the decision to offer employment to an applicant for a security sensitive position.
- The local hiring authority in consultation with Human Resource Services and/or the Provost’s Office shall be responsible for making the decision to promote, transfer, or reclassify an employee to a security sensitive position.
- Prior to conducting the criminal background check, the local hiring authority, Human Resource Services or Provost’s Office, as appropriate, will obtain the signed, written consent from the potential employee. (See approved form at http://www.utexas.edu/hr/forms/background_check_employee_em150a.pdf, which includes the notice required by Texas Government Code 559.003, as it may be amended from time to time. Download Adobe Reader.)
- Criminal history information will be used only for the purpose of evaluating applicants for employment in security sensitive positions and shall in no way be used to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability or age. This policy does not automatically exclude from consideration for employment all individuals with criminal convictions.
- Criminal history record information will not be made part of the applicant’s file or the employee’s file or communicated to any unauthorized person. Under Texas Government Code 411.085, the unauthorized release of criminal history record information is a criminal offense and, consequently, the institution should seek legal advice with respect to any requested release of such information.
- Offers of employment to applicants who apply for security sensitive positions will be made on a contingent basis pending satisfactory criminal background checks.
- A criminal background check will be conducted on all employees who transfer to, are promoted to, or have a position reclassified to a security sensitive position if a criminal background check had not been completed when they were originally hired.
- All criminal history record information will be destroyed by the Chief of Police 180 days after being obtained by UT Austin.
For Assistance: Questions regarding Criminal Background Checks should be directed to Human Resource Services, Recruiting and Staffing Services or the Provost’s Office.
Source: Business Procedures Memorandum 29-11-02; Texas Education Code Sec. 51.215; Texas Governmental Code 411.094
Previously HOP 7.E.2