25 employment offers revoked after background checks

By Kimberly Belser, Staff Writer

The University of Illinois System withdrew 25 job offers following background checks last year, with seven job applicants having their offers revoked at the Urbana-Champaign campus.

The background checks were made according to the guidelines of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which is in accordance with the federal law. Before any background checks are conducted, however, a job applicant must first provide consent to the system’s vendor, HireRight, responsible for the checks before they are initiated.

The FCRA requires that the candidates are provided with notifications concerning the background checks. The price of these checks averages to be 34 dollars.

“At Urbana, we had only two contingent offers of regular civil service employment rescinded, and 5 contingent offers for temporary, extra help employment rescinded,” said Deborah Stone, executive director of Human Resources Policy and Administration, in an email.

An annual report presented to the Board of Trustees on March 13 by UI System associate vice president and chief Human Resources officer Jami Painter, stated 4,569 background checks were conducted for UI within 12 months.

Job offers are dependent on successful completion of the background check process. They are utilized for both job applicants and individuals who are already employed by the UI System transitioning into positions that are “security sensitive and critical,” according to the report.

“The 25 offers withdrawn represent .2 percent of the total number of background checks conducted (13,066) in the 12-month reporting period. An offer may be withdrawn if the criminal conviction has a nexus to the duties and responsibilities of the position sought,” Painter said in an email.

A “finding” in an individual’s record does not mean the applicant will not be hired, according to the report.

The Hiring Risk Assessment Review Committee reviews the records of the applicants who possess a criminal background, considering elements such as their prior work history, the length of time since conviction, as well as whether there is a connection between the conviction and the job they applied for.

The committee then makes recommendations on final hiring decisions for faculty, both specialized and tenured, and a designated senior administrative officer makes the final decision.

“Well, obviously the safety of University students and employees is one of the highest priorities of the University,” said Thomas Hardy, executive director of University Relations. “This is just one element of the things that the University can do to try and ensure that level of safety to the best of its ability.”

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