Penn State puts stronger background check policy in place

Posted by Kristina Taylor
July 9, 2012

Penn State puts stronger background check policy in place

The effects of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case will be echoing through Happy Valley for a long time, and in many ways. One of the latest came last week, when a new Penn State University background check policy went into effect. The policy requires final job candidates and third-party employees who are offered employment undergo a criminal background check before they are hired to work at the university.

Three of the university’s existing policies (HR69, HR95 and HR96) were combined into the new HR99 policy, “Background Check Process,” which has incorporated a more comprehensive procedure that also ensures compliance with recently issued federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines on background checks.

The new policy establishes a clear process to ensure that a candidate’s criminal history and any potential child abuse records are reviewed. Background checks will be used solely to evaluate candidates’ eligibility to be engaged in any work capacity by the university. In addition, current employees who are considered to be in “sensitive/critical” positions, as defined in the policy, must complete background checks if they have not already been completed. Positions with responsibility for protected, personal or other sensitive data (auditors; registrars; IT, HR, and payroll staffs); positions with master key access to all offices/facilities within buildings; and positions with responsibility for controlled substances or hazardous materials are among those considered to be sensitive/critical, according to news reports.

The policy also requires all individuals, including current employees, to disclose criminal arrests and/or criminal convictions that are outlined in the self-disclosure form within 72 hours of their occurrence. Candidates who don’t comply or who provide inaccurate information will not be considered for employment.

It will be interesting to see what changes other universities, children’s charities and other organizations make in light of the Sandusky crimes.

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