Siena College recognizes that hiring the best qualified individuals to fill positions contributes to the overall strategic success of the College. The College also strives to exercise reasonable care in providing to our students, faculty, staff, volunteers and visitors a safe and secure environment, and to provide reasonable protection for the human, financial, and material assets of the College.
This Policy establishes a process for ensuring background checks are completed for any individuals, age 18 and over, (paid and unpaid) who are hired by Siena College in any work capacity effective on or after the date of this policy. This includes all faculty, staff, administrators, spouses of employees who reside in residence halls, anyone traveling overnight with students, and anyone working with minors. Based on the position it may apply to volunteers, students, and individuals appointed for 2 weeks or less.
Background checks will be used solely to evaluate candidates’ eligibility to be engaged in any work capacity by the College, and will not be used to discriminate on the basis of protected categories included in Siena College’s Human Rights Policy and EEO Affirmative Action Policy Statement.
Applicants and volunteers under consideration shall complete an employment\volunteer application that requires them to describe any open arrests or criminal convictions and to certify the accuracy of information provided on the application. Falsification of information on an employment\volunteer application or in the hiring process can result in denial or forfeiture of college employment or volunteer service. If false, misleading, or omitted information is discovered after an individual has been appointed, the individual’s appointment agreement may be deemed null and void and the individual’s employment may be terminated.
While applicants and volunteers are required to disclose open arrests or convictions, applicants may not be asked to reveal information about prior arrests or any convictions that have been expunged or sealed by the court. Any information about reported convictions, as well as information about falsification of information, will be reviewed by Human Resources for further investigation and appropriate actions, in consultation with appropriate College Officials. Convictions disclosed on the application or during the employment process do not automatically disqualify an applicant or volunteer. The College will perform an individualized assessment for each applicant. In accordance with New York Corrections Law, Article 23-A, the College takes into consideration a number of factors in reviewing convictions so disclosed. Specifically, the nature (e.g., violence, destruction of property, breach of confidence, etc.) severity and number of convictions, the age of the applicant at the time of the offense, the amount of time that has passed since the last date of offense and the last date of incarceration (if any), the relationship the conviction has to duties and responsibilities of the position, and the candidate’s conduct and rehabilitation efforts since conviction also may be taken into account in the final hiring decision.
Applicants and volunteers will be advised that a background check is a requirement for an appointment at Siena College, as appropriate. Job postings (paid or unpaid) will include language identifying the need for all individuals (including current College employees) to undergo a background check appropriate to the position’s responsibility. Applicants and volunteers are required to sign a Disclosure & Consent Form authorizing the College to conduct a thorough background check. Any applicant may decline to sign a Disclosure & Consent Form but will no longer be considered eligible for employment or volunteer service.
Current employees applying for any position for which a search is being conducted or moving into a different position will be required to have completed the appropriate background checks necessary for the position.
For purposes of this policy, generally a break in service of one year or less does not require a new background check unless the individual returns to an assignment requiring a check(s) which was not previously performed. Additionally, an approved leave of one year or less does not require a new background check. Individuals with a break in service and/or a leave of one year or less will be required to confirm, in writing, whether or not they have been subject to convictions or have a current open arrest(s) at the time of their return to work/volunteer service. Furthermore, returning employees/volunteers with driving responsibilities must confirm, in writing, whether or not they have been subject to any motor vehicle violations, any motor vehicle preventable accidents, any arrests or convictions for driving while under the influence or ability impaired, or of the suspension or revocation of the individual’s driver’s license. A new background check will be required for individuals with breaks in service and/or leaves greater than one year, as appropriate.
Programs involving minors must ensure that all faculty, staff, administrators, students (18 and over), volunteers, and any other personnel have been subject to a criminal background check annually. Individual programs may require more frequent updates.
Siena College has partnered with an outside vendor, a consumer reporting agency, to conduct background checks. Background check results are considered property of Siena College.
The level and type of background checks depend on the position and may include but are not limited to:
- current/former employment,
- criminal history,
- sex offender registries,
- current & previous addresses,
- name and social security number verifications,
- education degree verification,
- licensure verification,
- motor vehicle record check,
- insurability verification
- credit check
(References will continue to be verified by the hiring supervisor.)
Human Resources will maintain a matrix on position specific background checks.
Periodic Updates or Additional background Checks
The College retains the right to conduct relevant background checks of current employees/volunteers when it has reasonable grounds to do so, e.g., no prior check was performed, a workplace incident has occurred, upon self-disclosure of criminal activity or upon the College being informed of such activity, or upon change of assignment. The College also reserves the right to require background checks of additional categories of applicants, at its discretion.
Siena College reserves the right to modify or amend this policy at any time, with or without notice.
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