Background checks for applicants

WSU has a policy for pre-employment background checks. Background checks may be used for educational verification, employment history confirmation, criminal history record, credit history, and motor vehicle records.

You can read this policy here.

For criminal background checks, WSU policy requires the hiring department to be responsible for all costs incurred. The Vancouver campus has elected to cover this cost centrally.

The Business Policies and Procedures Manual (BPPM) requires background checks for positions with unsupervised access to children or vulnerable adults, per Washington state law (RCW 43.43.832). Additionally, employing officials may request pre-employment background checks for any position before recruitment begins. The Vancouver campus has elected to require background checks on all staff, faculty and student positions, including hourly and temporary positions, as a condition of employment.

Why we have this policy

To protect the campus community and its assets, the university needs to ensure that individuals assigned to campus positions have no history of criminal behavior relevant to their employment. Although this is no guarantee against criminal acts, it does reduce the likelihood of crime and may reduce the campus’s liability in case a crime occurs.

The need to investigate applicants’ criminal history must be balanced with the need to protect their privacy. University policy and state and federal laws recognize the individual’s right to privacy and prohibit campus employees and others from seeking, using or disclosing personal information except within the scope of their assigned duties.

A criminal background check does not relieve the department of its obligation to check references, conduct credit checks when appropriate, verify prior employment, obtain copies of licenses or certificates required for a specific position, or perform any other necessary checks.

Information and resources

The procedures for conducting the criminal background check, use of the information obtained and review of the background check decisions are subject to BPPM 60.16.3.
To find out more about the background check program, click on the links listed below:

Human Resource Services: http://hrs.wsu.edu/MTK+Background+checks

Business Policies and Procedures Manual: Background Check Policy, BPPM 60.16 (PDF)

Summary of Your Rights: Summary of Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (PDF)

If you have additional questions or concerns, contact Human Resource Services at 360-546-9587 or diane.laya@wsu.edu.

Frequently asked questions

What gives WSU the right to conduct background checks?
Chapter 43.43, sections 815, 830 – 842 of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) either requires or allows WSU to conduct background checks.

What does it mean that a job is subject to a background check?
An applicant must pass a background check as a condition of employment.

Who conducts the background check?
WSU contracts with a third-party consumer reporting vendor, HireRight, for background checks.

Why is an email address required to apply for a position?
HireRight is an online screening system. Once WSU selects the top applicants, HireRight contacts them via email to consent to a background check.

What if I do not have an email address?
Free email address are widely available. Visit Gmail or Yahoo! to learn more about obtaining one.

Are background checks conducted only on applicants who are not current WSU employees, or are current WSU employees also subject to background checks?
A background check is conducted on the top applicant(s). If a current WSU employee is the top applicant and the individual does not have a background check on file or it has been longer than a year since a background check was conducted, then a background check will be conducted on the current employee.

If I am a former WSU employee, do I need to have another background check?
If your previous background check was done more than a year ago, you will need to have another one.

How will I know if a background check will be conducted on me?
You will receive an email from us, introducing HireRight. After that you will receive an email from HireRight asking you to login to a secure website to provide identifying information (e.g., Social Security number and birth date) in order to run a background check.

What information is WSU looking for in a background check?
It depends on the position. For example, a custodian will have different background check requirements from an accountant.

Is the identifying information provided for a background check safe?
Yes. You will provide the information directly to HireRight via a secure server. The information you provide is strictly confidential and will not be shared with outside parties.

Will I be notified if a background check finds adverse information?
Yes. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you are entitled to disclosure of any adverse information in your background check, and WSU will notify you by mail.

Will any adverse information found during a background check disqualify me from further consideration for the position?
Not always. Any adverse information can be taken into consideration by the hiring department if it directly relates to the duties and responsibilities of the job.

If I disagree with any adverse information found, what can I do?
You may request a copy by contacting HireRight directly, within sixty (60) days of notification from WSU of the adverse information. You also have the right to dispute the completeness or accuracy of the report with HireRight.