Background Checks for Critical Positions

  1. Summary


    The University of California, Santa Cruz requires pre-employment background checks via Live Scan through the State of California, Department of Justice (DOJ) or through outside vendors. This applies for job candidates in a critical position (including volunteers) and for employees who have had changes to their positions via a classification (equity or stipend) review, updated job description, or hired into another position on campus. In the case of a job recruitment, review or volunteer position, an offer, oral or written, is contingent upon completion of a satisfactory background check.

    *LiveScan services are currently by appointment only.  For more logistical information please contact LiveScan Services, or refer to the COVID-19 FAQ page under Business Administration: “How will background checks be conducted during the shelter-in-place order?”

    Additionally, those who have resided outside of California within the past 10 years must also undergo a background check via the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The FBI background check is conducted through the same Live Scan process as the DOJ. Please refer to Live-Scan Fingerprinting for fees.

    For more information on background checks and what constitutes a critical position, please see PPSM-21: Selection and Appointment (describes the process for selecting and appointing candidates for employment, including background checks, reference checks, and employment eligibility verification, as well as the employment of near relatives) and/or Union Agreements. If a supervisor requires assistance in determining which critical function(s) applies to the position, please contact your Compensation Analyst for staff or your Staff Human Resources (SHR) Operations (Timekeeper) for student workers.

    All candidates or current employees who reside outside of California must undergo a background check via an outside vendor. However, the employee must still undergo a DOJ Live Scan inside of California.

    Questions regarding the status of pending background check results should be directed to Talent Acquisition for staff and SHR Operations for student workers. Volunteer coordinators, please contact the SHR Background Check Team at backgrnd@ucsc.edu.
  2. Related Policies, Contract Articles and References

    1. Personnel Policies for Staff Members (PPSM) - Employees not covered by a collective bargaining agreement

    2. Union Agreements - Employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement
  3. Process Overview

    1. Initiation of the Live Scan Background Check

      1. In the case of recruitment, once a conditional offer for a critical position has been extended to the candidate, the Hiring Manager must submit the Live Scan Service Request Form for Hiring Units. This generally takes 24 hours to process.
        1. For classification review and/or updated job description actions, the supervisor will be prompted by an email generated via ServiceNow to submit the Live Scan Service Request Form for Hiring Units.

        2. For volunteers, the Supervisor must submit a Live Scan Service Request Form for Hiring Units as soon as they identify a volunteer.

      2. The candidate/employee/volunteer will receive an email from Live Scan Services with a link to the Live Scan Service Request Form for Applicants.

      3. The Hiring Manager and candidate/employee/volunteer will be informed via email from Live Scan Services that the candidate/employee/volunteer can now move forward with the fingerprinting process.

      4. The candidate/employee/volunteer must go to UC Santa Cruz Live Scan Services or another accepted Live Scan vendor to be fingerprinted. The candidate/employee/volunteer must bring a valid government-issued photo ID, and know their social security number.

      5. When completing the LiveScan form,  there is an option to choose on or off campus live scan services. Once the on or off campus option has been selected, information on how to proceed will be sent from Mail Services via email.
    2. Background Assessment Process

      1. The SHR Business Administration, Policy, Process and Resources (BAPPR) team will receive the Background Check (Live Scan) results from the DOJ or an outside vendor.

      2. If the background check does not contain Potentially Disqualifying Information (PDI), the process may proceed.

      3. If the results contain PDI, the information will be routed to the appropriate team for review. Please refer to the Background Check Assessment Process for more information.

    3. Results Processing - Receipt of results from the DOJ can take an indeterminate amount of time. These are the following results that we receive from DOJ:

      1. If There Is No Potentially Disqualifying Information (PDI)

        1. In the case of a Staff job recruitment, the Hiring Manager and Talent Acquisition (hiring@ucsc.edu) will receive an email from the SHR Background Check Team (backgrnd@ucsc.edu) indicating that the candidate has no information that would disqualify their employment. Talent Acquisition will then extend the candidate a final job offer.

        2. In the case of classification reviews and/or updated job descriptions, the Supervisor and the Compensation Team (shr-comp-group@ucsc.edu) will receive an email from the SHR Background Check Team (backgrnd@ucsc.edu) indicating that the employee has no disqualifying information. The action will then be completed.

        3. In the case of a Student job recruitment, the Operations Background Group (ops-background-group@ucsc.edu) will receive an email from the SHR Background Check Team (backgrnd@ucsc.edu) indicating that the candidate has no information that would disqualify their employment. Operations will inform the hiring supervisor and they will then finalize the hiring.

        4. In the case of Volunteers, the supervisor (HM-Hiring Manager) will receive an email from the SHR Background Check Team (backgrnd@ucsc.edu) indicating that the volunteer has no information that would disqualify them from volunteering.

      2. If There Is Potentially Disqualifying Information (PDI)

        1. If the background check contains criminal conviction or other PDI that may disqualify the individual from employment or volunteering in the critical position, the PDI must be formally assessed based on certain criteria, dictated by policy outlined in PPSM-21 III-D-3, to determine if it is disqualifying. The candidate/volunteer will be notified of the preliminary decision of disqualification from employment and be provided a copy of the PDI and a copy of the PPSM-21 policy.

        2. If it is determined that the criminal conviction or other PDI does not disqualify the candidate/volunteer/employee from employment:

          1. In the case of a Staff job recruitment, the Hiring Manager and Talent Acquisition will receive an email from the SHR Background Check Team (backgrnd@ucsc.edu) indicating that the candidate has no information that would disqualify their employment. Talent Acquisition will then extend the candidate a final job offer.
          2. In the case of classification reviews and/or updated job descriptions, the Supervisor and the Compensation Team (shr-comp-group@ucsc.edu) will receive an email from the SHR Background Check Team (backgrnd@ucsc.edu) indicating that the employee has no disqualifying information. The action will then be completed.
          3. In the case of a Student job recruitment, the Operations Background Group (ops-background-group@ucsc.edu) will receive an email from the SHR Background Check Team (backgrnd@ucsc.edu) indicating that the candidate has no information that would disqualify their employment. Operations will inform the hiring supervisor and they will then finalize the hiring.
          4. In the case of Volunteers, the supervisor (HM-Hiring Manager) will receive an email from the SHR Background Check Team (backgrnd@ucsc.edu) indicating that the volunteer has no information that would disqualify them from volunteering.
        3. If the Assessment Team (A-Team) and the Campus Counsel determine that the candidate/employee's conviction history or other PDI does disqualify them from employment, the candidate/employee will receive a letter that indicates they have 5 days to respond with supplementary documentation or information showing that the conviction information is factually inaccurate. If a volunteer is disqualified, the information will be routed to the A-Team Members who will then determine if there is a nexus to their volunteer duties. The A-Team Members will use this information received and follow the specific guidelines covered under the PDI process review sections.
        4. Throughout this process for the candidates, staff, and student employees, the Hiring Manager and appropriate SHR department will be provided updates while maintaining the confidentiality of the results (Talent Acquisition for staff job recruitments, Compensation Team for classification reviews and/or updated job descriptions, Operations for Students).
          1. If no supplementary information is provided:
            1. If the candidate does not respond, the candidate is disqualified from the job and the conditional job offer is officially rescinded. The candidate will receive a final letter informing them that they have been disqualified from employment.
          2. If supplementary information is provided:
            1. It will be assessed before making a final decision to rescind the conditional job offer or not.
              1. If the supplementary documentation is not sufficient to show that the conviction information is factually inaccurate, the candidate/employee will receive a final letter informing them that they have been disqualified from employment.
              2. If the supplementary documentation is sufficient to show that the conviction information is factually inaccurate, the hiring or employee action may carry on into completion.
      3. Delay

        1. “Delay” emails will be sent to Talent Acquisition and the Hiring Manager for staff job recruitments, Compensation Team for classification reviews and/or updated job descriptions, Operations Background Group for Students, Hiring Manager for Volunteers.

        2. The Hiring Manager and Talent Acquisition will receive an email from the SHR Background Check Team (backgrnd@ucsc.edu) indicating that there is a delay with the candidate’s background check.

          1. When there is a delay in the results, the background check requires manual intervention by the background check service provider and will take time to complete. Questions related to the delay (that can be caused by many factors) cannot be responded to as there is no pertinent information that can be statutorily provided until the review of all relevant information is complete.
      4. Reject

        1. “Reject” emails will be sent to Talent Acquisition and the Hiring Manager for staff job recruitments, Compensation Team for classification reviews and/or updated job descriptions, Operations Background Group for Students, Hiring Manager for Volunteers. The email from the SHR Background Check Team (backgrnd@ucsc.edu) indicates that the candidate’s/employee’s/volunteer’s fingerprints were rejected by the DOJ and they must be re-scanned.
        2. The candidate must go back to UC Santa Cruz Live Scan Services or the original DOJ LiveScan service provider to complete the rescan process a second time.
          1. They must provide the original ATI number (the number that identifies their background check submission to the DOJ which is included in the “Reject” email) to the Live Scan Technician.
    4. Outside Vendor Background Checks for Candidates Currently Residing Outside of California

      1. Talent Acquisition will inform the Hiring Manager that their candidate must undergo a background check via an outside vendor.
      2. The Hiring Unit creates a Purchase Order for the outside vendor through CruzBuy in the amount specified in the communication from Talent Acquisition.
      3. Hiring Unit will email backgrnd@ucsc.edu with the following information:
        1. PO #
        2. Candidates full legal name
        3. Candidates personal email address (used to initiate the process)
      4. The check for the outside vendor is initiated by SHR.
      5. An invitation for the outside vendor is sent to the candidate for them to submit their confidential personal information.
      6. The outside vendor starts their process for background check.
      7. Background check results are received by the background check team. If there is a PDI, the results will be assessed in accordance with PPSM-21
      8. The outcome of this assessment will be conveyed to Talent Acquisition and the Hiring Manager for staff job recruitments, Compensation Team for classification reviews and/or updated job descriptions, Operations Background Group for Students, Hiring Manager for Volunteers.
      9. These same contacts will take the next steps to finalize or rescind the conditional offer.

        If your employee is undergoing a classification review and/or an updated job description that requires an outside vendor background check, you will receive email instructions about this process that are similar to the ones above. If you have additional questions after receiving that email, please contact the sender of that email.

        *NOTE* During COVID-19 shelter-in-place, all hires and volunteers must undergo an outside vendor background check. Once shelter-in-place is lifted, all hires and volunteers must complete a DOJ Live Scan.
    5. Non-Academic Staff Subsequent Arrest

      Once cleared and in the system, the Campus will regularly receive information regarding subsequent arrests for all employees who continue to occupy critical positions. Once they are separated from UC Santa Cruz, an No Longer Interested (NLI) form will be processed and these notifications will no longer be received.
      1. Access to subsequent arrest information is strictly controlled. Failure to properly protect the confidentiality of information obtained from the DOJ can incur penalties under California Penal Code Section. 11140, 11142, and 11143.
      2. The SHR BAPPR team is authorized to receive and/or disclose information received from the DOJ regarding subsequent arrests.
      3. When SHR receives notice of a subsequent arrest, the information is immediately routed to the appropriate team for action. This could include the Employee Relations Analyst, A-Team Members, Operations Background Group or Volunteer Contacts.
      4. The A-Team convenes to review the PDI. They will make their assessment based on the criteria dictated by the PPSM-21 policy and on occasion with the guidance of Campus Counsel.
      5. Personnel actions (i.e. administrative leave, dismissal) would only occur after a full and fair employment investigation is conducted and the employee is granted due process in whatever action is taken.
    6. Processing No Longer Interested (NLI) Forms
The DOJ will notify the University when an individual who previously underwent a Live Scan background check has subsequent dispositions. The University is required by law to notify the DOJ when we no longer have a need to know this information. Thus a NLI form must be processed when an employee leaves a critical position. For staff and student employees, the SHR Operations team will submit an NLI form. For volunteers, the volunteer coordinator provides a list directly to the background check team via an existing internal process.
  1. Forms/Resources