Procedure Number: 41 Effective Date: 03/01/08
Title: Background Checking Procedure Revised:
Approval Date: 03/01/08 President’s Signature: on file


Pre-employment reference checks have consistently been part of a quality approach to employment processes at West Liberty University. To bolster this “total quality approach” in making hiring decisions, and to help ensure that only job applicants who have been vetted though a quality control process are advanced to employment status, the University has installed a more formal background checking process into its larger employment processes. This administrative operating procedure supplements and strengthens the West Liberty University Board of Governors’ Policy Number 11, “Consolidated Employment / Hiring Procedure,” particularly sections II-F, “Recommendations to Hire,” and II-G, items 1 and 2, “Reference / Background Checks.”


I. General Provisions

Under the guidance and direction of the Human Resources Department in managing the employment processes and in obtaining documented reference and background information relative thereto, Human Resources shall utilize the services of a third-party vendor who specializes in providing background screening reports to assist in making employment related decisions. This process applies primarily to new employment. In cases where an existing employee may be required by virtue of new work assignments, promotion, demotion, etc., to engage in work-related activities on a regular and recurring basis in situations which would otherwise have required a background screen, then a report may be obtained containing information determined relevant to the duties anticipated to be performed; for instance, driving or classroom instruction.

II. Permission Required

Under the Fair Credit and Reporting Act (FCRA), the University, through the report vendor, is required to notify and obtain the authorization of each job applicant (or employee) prior to requesting or receiving a background information report from a Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) or third-party vendor. The individual may deny authorization, though such action may thereafter affect the outcome of the employment processes. If employment is denied an individual, based in whole or in part upon information disclosed to the University in a consumer credit report, the individual for whom the report was obtained shall be notified through processes in place and as established by the vendor. The term “employment purposes,” when used in connection with a consumer credit report, means a report used for the purpose of evaluating a consumer/applicant for employment, promotion, reassignment or retention as an employee, or a denial of employment, or any other decision for employment purposes that adversely affects any current or prospective employee.

III. Report Required

No individual anticipated to be hired into a position with the University shall begin employment prior to the University obtaining and reviewing the required report(s).  Generally, positions which have greater responsibilities, authority and access, as well as positions which have greater required student contact (particularly and notably  in a residential setting), will have more extensive report requirements than those positions which have lower level responsibilities, limited authority and access, and little or no student contact. Individual positions with access to cash or with significant fiduciary responsibilities are subject to background reports.

IV. Extension of Offer

A. It is common practice to discuss with a prospective candidate the details of the offer of employment such as start date, benefits, and compensation. The job candidate must be advised that such conversation and practice does not represent an official offer until all conditions for employment are met, including the satisfactory outcome of the background check and the return-receipt to the University of a written and signed offer letter from the candidate. All written offer letters prepared by the University must contain a clause that the offer is contingent upon completion of a satisfactory pre-employment background check.

B. The University is exposed to liability when an employee drives a university-owned or their personal vehicle in the course of doing University business. West Liberty requires a minimum of three (3) years’ satisfactory driving history to protect against the potential for high claim experience and/or “negligent entrustment” lawsuits. All employees in positions requiring driving are expected to maintain valid driver’s licenses, an acceptable driving record and proper insurance throughout the course of their employment. Motor vehicle records may be checked periodically on all employees in positions that regularly require driving.

C. Occasionally a situation may arise where an individual may not be required to drive, although the position into which they are being hired generally would require driving. In this case, the operating area Vice President and the Executive Director of Human Resources must approve the exception after verification from the area/department Hiring Manager.  In such a situation, the following paragraph should be inserted into the offer letter for the candidate:

Driving Prohibition: I agree that I will not drive for the University under any circumstances unless and until approved in writing by West Liberty’s Human Resources Department. I understand that my failure to comply with this prohibition can result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.”

In situations where it is impractical or illegal for a third-party provider to obtain a candidate’s motor vehicle record, the candidate may be asked to obtain a copy of his / her motor vehicle report abstract directly from the State Department of Motor Vehicles for submission to West Liberty University.

D. Only the President, an area Vice President, the Executive Director of Human Resources, or a non-classified administrator in a position of greater authority can make exceptions to this operating procedure. As all exceptions open West Liberty to liability, any exceptions must be well documented in writing and signed off by the party(ies) authorizing the exception.