Background Checks

To comply with Fayetteville Policies and Procedures 402.1, all persons hired as employees must submit to a criminal background and sex offender registry check.  Further, all graduate students appointed as graduate assistants and volunteers who perform responsibilities similar to paid employees will require a check.  In addition, substance abuse testing and financial history checks may also be required for certain positions.

Exception: for undergraduate student workers, checks are only required for positions performing duties listed under Section I.A.2, of the policy.

Each position will have language in the job announcement indicating that a background and sex offender registry check, substance abuse test, financial history or combination of these checks is required. 

A complete list of position titles and the required checks are provided in Schedule A.  Limited updates to Schedule A, consistent with this revised policy, are currently underway.

Background checks will be conducted once a candidate becomes a finalist for a position.  Unless prior completion of the check is required by law for the position, hiring units may make an offer of employment that is expressly conditioned on completion of a criminal background check, financial history check, substance abuse test, or a combination of these checks that is fully satisfactory in the sole discretion of the University.

Employees, graduate assistants and volunteers should not begin their assigned duties until the applicable background checks are complete.

Frequently Asked Questions

To align our campus background checks policy with recent updates to the UA System background checks policy, and to be consistent with best hiring practices in higher education and among major employers, the scope of positions covered by the background check policy was expanded to support the University of Arkansas’ efforts to provide a safe and secure environment for the University community.   

The screenings are determined based on the duties of the position and the business necessity to manage risk.    

This package, which searches a national criminal database and the national sex offender registry, will be used for new hires into positions that have not previously required a background check. The results of these background checks can be received within a day, if not sooner.  

This package, which checks criminal records at the county level and the national sex offender registry, will continue to be used to conduct criminal background checks on employees performing the duties outlined in FPP 402.1; section I.A.2.  The county-based checks may take several business days to complete.  Offers of employment or assistantship may be made contingent on a successful background check.  

 Positions requiring substance abuse testing and/or financial history checks are outlined in FPP 402.1.  Most faculty, graduate assistant and student hourly positions will not be subject to these additional screenings.    

 

All positions (including faculty and graduate assistants) shall have, at the minimum, a national criminal background check and a check for registered sex offender status.

The county-based criminal background checks are also required when:

This position performs duties in the Departments of Finance and Administration, Development, Enrollment Services, Student Financial Aid, UA Connect or Information Technology Services that are security sensitive at such a level that they have broad access to or permanent retention of confidential information, e.g., Social Security numbers or system-wide passwords (employee or student). For example:

  • Positions that have the ability to view or access any information housed in enterprise systems that contain sensitive information
  • Positions that perform enterprise application development
  • Positions that have physical and administrative access to campus data infrastructure systems
  • Positions that are "forensic" investigators including those involved in the investigation of computer or network security breaches
  • Positions with broad access to sensitive student information with market value, such as financial aid administrators

 

 

This position (including faculty positions) provides care or supervision to minors (persons under 18), patients, mentally ill or developmentally disabled persons, or similar populations, as a primary job duty. Positions include, but are not limited to:

  • Child care workers (Note: Checks for childcare workers must be renewed at least every five years.)
  • Healthcare providers such as physicians and nurses
  • Clinical psychologists, social workers or licensed professional counselors
  • Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians

 

The position handles cash funds, including credit card processing, as a primary job duty. 

(Note: Positions which only have access to one credit card at a time when processing or facilitating a transaction may be excluded.)

 

 

This is a non-faculty position designated as a safety officer or that operates facilities distributing hazardous substances.

 

 

A criminal background check is required by law for this position.

 

The following positions require finalists to successfully complete the county-based criminal background check, sex offender registry check and substance abuse testing:

Positions in a non-academic unit that include, but are not limited to:

  • Electricians including high voltage, low voltage and alarm electricians
  • Power distribution workers
  • Boiler/chiller operators
  • Utility maintenance workers
  • Institutional service assistants with regular access to personal spaces such as residence halls, Greek houses and athletic locker rooms
  • Environmental compliance workers
  • Environmental Health and Safety employees

This position has regular access to personal spaces such as residence halls, Greek houses or athletic locker rooms. Positions include, but are not limited to, institutional services assistants and resident assistants.

This is a university police or other security position.

This position is a senior administrator who is assigned a level of responsibility and authority that provides broad access to sensitive or protected university information, is granted high level authority for transaction approval, is in an executive position for which there is limited supervision or oversight, or whose conduct bears significantly on the university's reputation. Positions include Chancellor, Vice Chancellors, Deans, Vice Provosts and Associate Vice Chancellors.

This is a bus and/or van driver (primary job duties) position or otherwise requires a Commercial Driver's License.

This position operates heavy equipment such as tractors, trailers, backhoes, front-end loaders, dump trucks and other heavy mechanized equipment

Positions that require substance abuse testing by law.

In consultation with Human Resources that require substance abuse testing as job related and a business necessity, such as all positions in Facilities Management.    

 

Financial/credit checks are required when:

This position has extensive cash management duties with access to cardholder data sets or access to the cardholder data processing or storage environment as a primary job duty.

This is a senior financial administrator who is assigned a level of responsibility and authority that provides financial oversight or is granted high level authority for transaction approval.  

In consultation with Human Resources that require financial/credit testing as job related and a business necessity.

 

New faculty and graduate assistants will now require background checks in part because of their direct involvement with students both inside and outside of the classroom, sometimes in positions of authority. Note that sometimes graduate assistants may move in and out of roles that entail student contact without going through formal hiring processes. 

The expenses for background checks and substance abuse testing will be budgeted centrally and vendor payments will be managed by Human Resources.  

Most covered positions do not require re-checking incumbents. However, periodic re-checks may be required by law or as determined by the vice chancellor after consultation with HR. For more information, contact an HR Expert.

The hiring department’s role is a three-step process:

  1. Ensure position announcements include the approved language indicating that a criminal background check (including a registered sex offender check) is required.  In addition, if a financial history checks or substance abuse test is required, that information will also be included. 
    • (NOTE:  Human Resources will monitor position postings advertised through the PeopleAdmin Recruitment System for appropriate language.)
    • For positions advertised outside of the PeopleAdmin Recruitment System, contact Human Resources for the approved language
  2. Initiate the background check on the selected finalist(s). Unless prior completion is required by law, hiring units may make an offer of employment that is expressly conditioned on completion of a criminal background check, financial history check, substance abuse test, or a combination of these checks that is fully satisfactory in the sole discretion of the University.
    • Checks must also be conducted for volunteers with responsibilities similar to paid employees. 
  3. Wait for background check results to be received and reviewed before allowing the individual to begin work.   

Individuals subject to background checks must give their authorization to begin the process.  The hiring department initiates the authorization process by submitting a background check request to Human Resources.  This request may be submitted in one of two ways: 

This is quickest and easiest way to initiate the background check process.  When applicants apply to positions posted in the PeopleAdmin Recruitment System, the Applicant Reviewer simply views the finalist’s application and selects the “Take Action on Job Application” option of “Send for Background Check-University” to initiate the process. 

For volunteers or individuals hired outside of the PeopleAdmin Recruitment System, the hiring department submits the finalist’s name and email address to initiate the process for the selected background check.  Cost center information is not required.  

 

Human Resources confirms the necessary checks and submits a new order to the background check vendor.   The background check vendor contacts the individual via email to invite them to complete the authorization.  The background checks process begins once the individual’s authorization is submitted electronically. 

Human Resources will administer the background check process for faculty, staff, hourly employees and graduate assistants once the hiring department initiates the process.

  • Human Resources will notify hiring managers by email when background checks are complete or if adverse information is identified. 
  • In those situations, where adverse information is identified in the background check, human resources works with the relevant units to evaluate whether the individual should be disqualified for the position, consistent with the campus and UA System background check policies.
  • Any adverse action taken pursuant to a negative background check follows the notification procedures required under the campus and UA system policies.  

In addition to the county-based criminal background checks and checks for registered sex offender status, all new employees who provide care or supervision of minors as part of their job responsibilities must receive a copy of Fayetteville Policies and Procedures 217.1, Protection of Minors on Campus, and the employee must acknowledge in writing that he or she has read and understands the policy.  Further, the new employee must complete a live or on-line training program on protecting minors, including child maltreatment reporting, prior to the performance of job duties.  Contact Human Resources at (479) 575-5351for additional information about these requirements.  

Faculty, staff and graduate assistants hired on or before September 1, 2017 will not require a background check unless the employee or graduate assistant moves into a position performing duties outlined in Section I.A.2. of FPP 402.1.  These duties include broad access to sensitive data, cash handling, the care and supervision of minor children, health care and safety-sensitive positions.   

To the extent permitted by law, if an individual has been subject to a background check as a condition of university employment, a new check is not required if the individual has undergone a background check of the type applicable to the new position within the past two years, and the individual has remained continuously employed, in good standing, by the University (allowing for regular seasonal breaks of six months or less) since the check was conducted.

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment of 2016 (“MMA”) legalized medical use of marijuana under State law for individuals who have a written certification of a qualifying medical condition from a physician and have registered with the Arkansas Department of Health (“qualifying patients”).  Marijuana remains illegal under Federal law.  In addition, there are limits on the use and possession of medical marijuana by qualifying patients under State law.   

The following information is being provided to address questions from employees and students about the use and possession of medical marijuana within the University of Arkansas System. Any questions that are not addressed here may be referred to Human Resources.

I.          The University is subject to and will continue to comply with the Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989.  The University will also comply with applicable state laws and regulations.

II.        Medical marijuana in any form shall not be possessed or used on any University campus or owned or leased space, including campus housing, or at any university-sponsored events or activities. 

III.       The University shall continue to provide employees with drug-free workplaces and students with drug-free schools.

A.        All employees are prohibited from possessing, smoking, ingesting or otherwise engaging in the use of, or being under the influence of, marijuana or other controlled substances on the premises, during working hours, or while operating a vehicle or equipment owned or leased by the University.  Employees who violate the drug-free workplace policy remain subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

B.        Any employee may be required to submit to drug testing if there is a reasonable suspicion the employee is impaired from marijuana or other substances while on duty.  Current testing does not allow a medical review officer to state with any degree of medical certainty whether an individual is impaired by marijuana.  Signs of impairment include, but are not limited to:

1.        Observed impairment of job performance;

2.        Abnormal conduct or behavior;

3.        A serious workplace accident or number of minor workplace accidents;

4.        Carelessness or disregard for safety;

5.        Physical signs that are inconsistent with the employee’s usual appearance or behavior such as:

a.         Slurred speech;

b.        Difficulty walking or standing;

c.         Unusual appearance or odors;

d.        Lethargy, drowsiness, confusion, or unusual behavior;

e.         Impaired coordination, dexterity, or balance. 

 

C.        Employees in safety-sensitive positions remain subject to pre-employment, random and for-cause drug testing.  Employees in safety-sensitive positions who test positive for marijuana or other controlled substances are subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.  Safety-sensitive positions include any position designated in writing by an employer as a position in which an employee under the influence of marijuana constitutes a threat to the employee, co-workers or members of the public.  Examples of safety-sensitive positions include, but are not limited to positions where employees:

1.        Carry firearms;

2.        Perform life-threatening procedures;

3.        Work with hazardous or flammable materials, controlled substances, or medicine; or

4.        Operate, repair, maintain, or monitor heavy equipment, machinery, aircraft, motorized watercraft, or motor vehicles.

 

D.        In the event an employee in a safety-sensitive position tests positive for marijuana and is a qualifying patient, the Office of General Counsel should be consulted before action is taken.

 

E.         For employees in non-safety-sensitive positions, a positive drug test cannot be the sole basis for determining that the employee was impaired while on duty.  Other objective signs, such as those noted in Paragraph B above, must also be present.

F.         Any employee with a professional license who is disciplined for being impaired while on duty will be reported to the appropriate licensing board as required by law.

 

IV.       The University shall not discriminate against an applicant or employee in hiring, termination, or any condition of employment based on past or present status as a qualifying patient. 

 

A.        Applicants should not be asked about their status as a qualifying patient during the hiring process.

B.        In the event an employee discloses his or her status as a qualifying patient, the supervisor should consider whether there is a need for a reasonable accommodation or a need to initiate the interactive process.  This decision should be based on the employee’s underlying medical condition rather than his/her status as a qualifying patient.   

 

V.        Employees who are injured on-the-job will remain subject to post-accident drug testing policies.  In the event an employee who is also a qualifying patient has an on-the-job injury and tests positive for marijuana, the employee’s eligibility for benefits will be determined by the Workers’ Compensation Commission in accordance with its rules and regulations.

 

VI.       No student shall be penalized for his/her status as a qualifying patient.  Such students may not use or possess medical marijuana on campus or at any school-sponsored event or activity.  Students who are enrolled in courses where safety-sensitive tasks are performed are subject to for-cause and random drug-testing and are prohibited from participating in any safety-sensitive task while under the influence of marijuana. Enrolled students who are under the influence of medical marijuana on campus or at any educational site or while participating in any University event or activity will be subject to discipline according to the applicable student conduct policy.

 

VII.      Students who participate in NCAA-sanctioned events will remain subject to NCAA rules and regulations, including exclusion from participation for failing a required drug test.

 

VIII.    The Medical Marijuana Commission began accepting applications for licenses to operate dispensaries and cultivation facilities on July 1, 2017.  The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) published a written certification form on July 1, 2017, that individuals are required to submit with an application to obtain a registry card.  The ADH estimates that medical marijuana will be available to qualifying patients in early 2018.