Jun 20, 2024  
Policies and Procedures Manual 
Policies and Procedures Manual

06:19:00 Background Checks

Revision Responsibility: Executive Director of Human Resources
Responsible Executive Officer: Vice President for Business & Finance


To verify the accuracy of information on an employment application that has been provided by final candidates or employees who are hired, promoted, reclassified, or transferred to ensure that individuals selected or retained possess the qualifications to perform the duties of the position.


  1. Pursuant to Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) Guideline No. P-010, Personnel Transactions and Recommended Forms, background checks of candidates recommended for employment will be conducted. Circumstances may also arise for which background checks of current employees will be necessary in order to determine whether their employment status with the institution should be changed. This process is necessary to ensure that individuals are selected or retained who possess the qualifications to perform the duties of the position most effectively and who are best able to serve the institution. Background checks may include, but not be limited to the following: county criminal records, driving record, national criminal records check, and Social Security number verification for all employees; verification of education (highest degree) for all faculty members and other professional staff; and sexual offender registry for any employee who will be working with minors. The guidelines that govern the Federal Work Study program require that seven percent of the total allocation be used to employ students in community service jobs. The institution may arrange for these students to be placed on campus or with other agencies or other organizations outside the institution, if in the public interest. As a result, any Federal Work Study student fulfilling the community service component of that funding must consent to a background check. The institution will be responsible for paying for the required background check.
  2. Individuals subject to background checks must be made aware of this practice at the earliest possible stage in the employment process. Appointment of or continued employment in a specified position is contingent upon an acceptable background check, and any written offer of employment must contain notice of this contingency.
  3. Independent contractors hired to provide services, or whose responsibilities require similar access to grand master keys, money, security-sensitive areas, and confidential information; positions that have the capability to create, delete, or alter records; and positions that are responsible for the care or instruction of children may also be subject to background checks.
  4. The Office of Human Resources is responsible for ensuring that the release authorization and Fair Credit Reporting Act disclosure form required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is completed.
  5. No background check may be requested until this form is completed. If the candidate/employee refuses to sign the release authorization and Fair Credit Reporting Act disclosure form, no further consideration will be given to this candidate/employee.
  6. The Office of Human Resources will electronically send the background check request to the background check agency. The background check agency will normally respond within three days of receipt of the form.
  7. Once results of the background check are received, if there is any part of the check that is not clear, the executive director of Human Resources, in conjunction with the president and appropriate staff from the hiring department, will review and evaluate the information. If the background check contains information upon which it is determined that the candidate/employee does not possess the qualifications or characteristics necessary to perform the duties of the position most effectively or would not be the best candidate to serve the institution in the position, an offer of employment, promotion, reclassification, or transfer should not be made.
  8. In all instances where information is obtained that would disqualify the candidate/employee or, make him/her a questionable risk for hire, promotion, reclassification, transfer or continued employment, the executive director of Human Resources will discuss the information with the associate vice chancellor for Human Resources and the TBR Office of General Counsel to ensure the decision is fair and legal based upon the information.
  9. Detention and/or arrest without conviction do not constitute valid grounds for employment decisions and cannot play a part in the decision-making process. Only criminal convictions or pleas of nolo contender will be considered in determining a candidate’s/employee’s suitability for employment or continued employment. In determining suitability for employment where there is a record of criminal conviction, consideration shall be given to such issues as the specific duties of the position, the number of offenses and circumstances of each, how long ago the conviction occurred, whether the circumstances arose out of an employment situation, and the accuracy of the explanation on the application.
  10. If adverse action is to be taken based in whole or in part on the information obtained from the background check, additional provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) must be followed. Prior to taking adverse action, the Office of Human Resources must provide the candidate/employee with a copy of the background check report, along with a summary of rights. After the adverse action is taken, the candidate/employee must be given an adverse action notice.
  11. The background check agency conducting the background check will charge a fee for each check conducted. The total cost of each background check will be charged to the hiring department’s account. The invoice, once received, will be forwarded to the accounts payable department for processing.
  12. Background check results (regardless of whether or not the person was employed) will be kept in separate notebooks in the Office of Human Resources.
  13. The steps herein outlined for employment background checks may also apply to individuals under contract for personal, professional, or consulting services in accordance with TBR Guideline G-030.

    The first three steps of the process will be as described above in sections A through C. The following steps will vary from those described above as follows:
  • Step D. The contracts and compliance officer will evaluate background check requirements when developing contracts for services. If applicable, a background check form will be included in the contract packet. The completed form will be submitted to Human Resources.
  • Step G. The results of the background check will be reviewed and evaluated by the executive director of Human Resources in conjunction with appropriate staff.
  • Step K. The fees for the background check will be charged to the department initiating the request for the contract.
  • Step L. The Office of Business & Finance will serve as the custodian for the records for background check results related to personal, professional, or consulting services. For the purposes of this institutional policy, the results of the background checks will be valid for a period of one calendar year from the date of receipt.

The following statement will be added to the contract template for personal, professional, and consulting services where the institution has deemed a criminal background check should be a prerequisite to engaging the consultant:

“If the contractor is an individual, the contractor agrees to a criminal background check to be conducted at the expense of the Institution prior to commencement of work to be performed under the terms of this agreement. The contractor acknowledges that the Institution has the right to cancel this contract if the background check contains information upon which it is determined that the contractor does not possess the qualifications or characteristics necessary to perform the services specified in this agreement. The contractor has the right to review the results of the background check by submitting a written request to the Institution.”

02/07; 12/12; 10/13; 05/16; 08/20; 08/22