Policies and Procedures Manual

Chapter 5: Personnel

05:07:01   Background Check

Related Policies and Guideline

TBR Guideline P-010 Personnel Transactions and Recommended Forms


Northeast State Community College is committed to providing a safe working environment for employees and protecting the college’s tangible and intangible assets. This policy is written to safeguard the College’s resources by establishing and maintaining sound business controls that will deter and detect any potential misuse of college resources. The College uses background and/or reference checks as screening tools in carrying out this commitment.   

This policy applies to all new hires at all sites including full-time, part-time, temporary, or adjunct employees of Northeast State Community College. It also applies to current employees who apply and are selected to fill an open position. It does not apply to student workers or student employees. Adjunct faculty who are hired after a break in service of 12 months or more will also be subject to a background check.


In the event of a staffing emergency and a documented need for an individual to report to work prior to receiving the background check report, a written request for an exception must be submitted to the Director of Human Resources or, for adjuncts, the Director of Evening Services. The applicable vice president must approve all requests to start employment prior to receipt of an acceptable background check report.


Pursuant to Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) Guideline No. P-010 Personnel Transactions and Recommended Forms, background checks of candidates are recommended for all new hires and/or for specified positions. Circumstances may arise for which background checks of current employees may be necessary. This process ensures that individuals are selected or retained who are best able to serve the institution.

A background check will be requested on all new employees considered as full-time, part time, temporary, and adjunct faculty as well as current employees who apply and are selected to fill an open position. Any retired full-time employee who wishes to return to employment with Northeast State will be subject to a background check. Any current staff hired to teach as adjunct will be subject to a background check if one has not been completed within the past 12 months. Former employees with a 12 month or more break in service will also be subject to a background check. All offers and contracts will be contingent upon return of a background check report. Refusal to consent to a background check will be considered and processed the same as an adverse background check. 

Background checks may include, but are not limited to:

  • Federal Criminal History (Felony): Searches all of the names in all jurisdictions of the candidate/employee’s residence for the previous seven years.
  • Multi-jurisdictional History Record (Felony & Misdemeanor): Searches all of the names in all jurisdictions of the candidates/employee’s residence for the previous seven years .
  • National Sexual Offender Database: Searches National Sex Offender Registries
  • Motor Vehicle Report: Verifies the state of license issuance, violations, accidents, suspensions, and revocation history.
  • Social Security Number Trace: Verifies provided addresses and sole ownership of said number.
  • Employment Verification: Verifies prior employment(s).
  • Consumer Report (Credit Report History): May be conducted on positions of trust (i.e., managing large scale financial funds for the College) and provides information regarding an individual’s credit worthiness, standing, and capacity.

The College has determined what types(s) of checks are required for each position based upon the responsibilities of the position. These include, but are not limited to, positions that have access to grand master keys, money, security-sensitive areas, and confidential information; positions that have the capability to create, delete, or alter records; and positions that are responsible for the care or instruction of children.

Employment Education Sex
Faculty X X X X X X X  
Admin/Professional X X X X X X X  
Adjunct X X X X X X X  
Temp X X X     X X  
  • Individuals subject to background checks must be made aware of this practice at the earliest possible stage in the employment process. Appointment of or continued employment in a specified position is contingent upon an acceptable background check.
  • The Human Resources Office (or Evening Services personnel, in the case of adjunct faculty) is responsible for ensuring that the Disclosure and Authorization Form required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is completed and forwarded to the candidate/employee. No background check may be requested until this form is completed. If the candidate/employee refuses to sign the Disclosure and Authorization Form, no further consideration will be given to this candidate/employee.
  • The Human Resources Office (or Evening Services personnel, in the case of adjunct faculty) will fax or send the background check request electronically to the background check agency (outside agency).
  • Upon receipt of the background check report, the Director of Human Resources will review and evaluate any adverse information. This information will be discussed with the Vice President for Inclusive Excellence and Sponsored Programs first, and then, as appropriate, the applicable hiring manger, vice president and/or the president.
  • A criminal history is not a bar to employment. The criminal history of a finalist should be carefully considered against their qualifications for the position, taking into consideration the needs of the College and the requirements of the position.
  • In determining suitability for employment where there is a record of criminal conviction, consideration shall be given to such issues as the specific duties of the position, the number of offenses and circumstances of each, the nature and gravity of the criminal offense or conduct, how long ago the conviction occurred, whether the circumstances arose out of an employment situation, and the accuracy of the explanation on the application. If the report contains information upon which it is determined that the candidate/employee does not possess the qualifications or characteristics necessary to perform the duties of the employment offer, promotion, or reclassification, the proposed action will be rescinded.
  • If adverse action is to be taken based in whole or in part on the information obtained from the background check, the Human Resources Office must provide the candidate/employee a copy of the background check report. If the applicant is considered eligible for employment upon review and consideration of adverse findings, then a Background Check Results memo may be placed in their personnel file to document that such behavior is not acceptable of employees at the College. Any other offenses may lead to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.

The Director of Human Resources (Director of Evening Services, in the case of adjunct faculty) will serve as the custodian of the records for background check results. Results on individuals who become employees will be kept in the employee’s personnel file. Background checks on individuals who are not placed in a position will be kept in the Human Resources Office (or Evening Services Office, in the case of adjunct faculty) with the search materials. 


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Divisional Review Responsibilities Checklist: Human Resources

Revision History: July 2015; Jan. 2016; March 2017; Edited April 2020; Revised Feb. 2021