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Reporting of Criminal Convictions for Currently Employed Faculty and Staff

Purpose

The University is committed to assuring a safe and secure environment for its faculty, staff, students, visitors, and others who may receive services from or have contact with University employees. For this reason, the University has enacted this policy which provides a mandatory process by which all employees (as defined below) must report any post-employment criminal conviction(s) to appropriate University administrators and sets forth standards by which any convictions will be evaluated and acted on. This policy sets forth a process which enables the University to review the circumstances of the criminal conviction(s) to assure that the employee in question does not pose an unreasonable safety risk to fellow employees, students, and visitors or indicate conduct that would be inconsistent with the employee’s assigned job duties and his/her access to University resources or facilities. The standards contained in this policy shall apply to criminal convictions reported directly by the employee or identified independently by the University through any other means. “Post-employment” for the purposes of this policy also includes criminal convictions which may occur after an employee has been formally offered and accepted employment but prior to reporting for work.

Note: This policy does not override or limit more stringent policies or protocols which may be applicable to employees (1) who are subject to special licensure or certification; (2) who otherwise occupy positions that are subject to higher standards of disclosure, such as in the Department of Public Safety; or (3) who have access to sensitive University facilities.

Applicability

The policy applies to all University employees except those whose employment is based entirely on their status as enrolled students of the University. Individuals covered by this policy (“employees”) include all permanent employees, temporary employees, on-leave employees, individuals with paid or unpaid adjunct faculty appointments, paid or unpaid emeritus faculty who perform ongoing official duties that include interactions with students, postdoctoral scholars, and medical fellows. Student employees, while exempted from this policy, are instead governed by other applicable University or School-level policies.

Reporting

1. University employees must report any criminal conviction(s). For this purpose, “criminal conviction” means all criminal convictions and pleas that are acknowledgements of criminal responsibility, including but not limited to prayers for judgment that occur on or after the effective date of this policy, registration as a convicted sex offender with any governmental authority as a result of any prior conviction for a sex offense, and/or any convictions or pleas that are acknowledgments of criminal responsibility subject to the jurisdiction of a military court.

Convictions for routine traffic-related infractions (e.g., speeding, unsafe movement, improper equipment) are not required to be reported under this policy unless driving is a required part of the employee’s regularly assigned job duties. In these circumstances, the employee must report any traffic-related conviction under the provisions of this policy.

2. Employees are required to report criminal convictions as outlined in this policy within five business days of the conviction or other covered criminal disposition or at the first possible opportunity if the employee is incarcerated. The employee is required to report this information to the Employee and Management Relations Department of the Office of Human Resources or, at the employee’s option, to his/her Supervisor or Department Head. The employee must provide to the University written documentation (for example, a written court record of the conviction or plea) that describes the criminal conviction(s) in question. Supervisors and/or Department Heads who have had such matters reported directly to them, either from the employee or through any other source, must immediately convey this information to Employee and Management Relations. The Employee and Management Relations Department will forward the relevant information and documentation to the appropriate University office for review and assessment as described below.

3. A willful failure to report a criminal conviction under this policy or to cooperate with University authorities in regards to a reportable matter under this policy may subject the employee to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination of University employment or affiliation.

Consideration and Assessment of a Criminal Conviction

1. The intent of this policy is to ensure the safety of the University community and to properly protect the University’s resources and reputation. It is not the intent of this policy that every criminal conviction will result in taking an action that would adversely affect an individual’s employment or affiliation with the University. Certain non-violent criminal offenses (as examples, DWI, DUI, simple possession of a controlled substance, worthless check, non-violent disorderly conduct) may not necessitate the University taking any action at all unless the conviction adversely affects the employee’s ability to perform the principal functions of his/her position, poses an unacceptable safety risk, or is part of an ongoing and sustained pattern of illegal conduct.

2. Responsibility for reviewing and assessing the criminal conviction(s) in question and determining any necessary action is assigned to the following University offices based on the individual’s employment type and category:

  • Permanent and temporary SPA and EPA Non-Faculty employees, including Medical Fellows and Visiting Scholars: Employee and Management Relations, Office of Human Resources
  • Permanent and temporary faculty including adjunct faculty: Academic Personnel Office
  • Postdoctoral Scholars: Office of Postdoctoral Affairs

3. The applicable University office, in consultation with the employee’s supervisory chain as well as the Office of University Counsel and/or Department of Public Safety, will review the criminal conviction(s) in question to determine if the matter would materially interfere with or pose an unacceptable safety risk with regard to the performance of the employee’s job duties or is part of an ongoing and sustained pattern of illegal conduct. The University’s Employee Threat Assessment and Response Team may assist in this assessment for cases that are deemed to potentially pose an unacceptable safety risk to the University. Depending on the nature of the reported criminal conviction, Employee and Management Relations may initiate an updated criminal conviction check for the employee in question both to assist in its risk assessment and also to determine whether there are other convictions previously unknown to the University that may influence the University’s risk assessment. In the event an updated criminal convictions check is initiated under this policy, the Office of Human Resources will provide the affected employee any required disclosures under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Using the standards provided below, the applicable University office(s) and the employee’s supervisory chain will determine the most appropriate action to be taken by the University, if any. Such action may include but not be limited to modification of assigned duties or work assignment, continuation of employment conditional on successful completion of appropriate treatment or counseling, or appropriate disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.

4. In considering whether a criminal conviction may necessitate the University taking an action which may adversely affect an individual’s employment or affiliation with the University, the following factors will be used to determine an appropriate course of action:

  • How related the criminal conviction is to the employee’s job responsibilities, duties, or contractual obligations as applicable;
  • The context of the events surrounding the criminal conviction and the totality of circumstances present;
  • A past pattern of similar criminal convictions and the future likelihood of illegal activity by the employee as might be indicated by this pattern;
  • Potential damage to the University’s reputation and/or violation of the public trust; and
  • Any other extenuating circumstances documented by the employee or otherwise known to the University.

Notification and Appeal

1. If a reported criminal conviction is a factor in taking an adverse action against an employee based on the guidelines set forth in this policy, the employee’s Supervisor or Department Head shall notify the employee in writing by registered letter or overnight express delivery with signed delivery confirmation by the recipient. The letter will include the action to be taken and the employee’s process to appeal such action.

2. An employee may appeal any disciplinary or other adverse action received as a result of a criminal conviction which is either reported by the employee directly or independently identified by the University through the appropriate grievance process based on the employee’s appointment type and category of employment. This policy does not grant grievance rights to an employee or affiliate who does not otherwise enjoy such rights given the terms of his/her relationship with the University.

Effective Date and Revision History

This policy is effective March 14, 2011. There are no prior revisions.

This policy is maintained by the Vice Chancellor for Human Resources.