FAQs - Pre-Employment Screening
What You Need to Know:
The following questions and answers address some of the most commonly asked concerns raised by administrators and hiring officials regarding Pre-Employment Drug Screens (PDS) and Pre-Employment National Background Checks (PNBC).
Did House Bill 3 require national checks specifically?
Legislation passed by the Kentucky General Assembly specifically requires national criminal history, including sex offender registry check; for all "initial hires." The law also includes a requirement for all applicants to disclose personal criminal history.
How is the University of Kentucky defining the term "initial hire?"
Our working definition of "initial hire" is any incoming employee who has not worked for the University within one year.
Generally speaking, what is being used as a guideline for which "initial hires" need the check and which do not?
If the person in question: 1) gets an I-9; 2) has employee taxes withdrawn from their UK checks; and 3) gets a W-2 at the end of the year, then they definitively need the background check performed.
Specifically, are there any jobs that will not require the check?
All new hires are to have the PNBC completed, including: staff, faculty, regular, temporary, full-time, part-time, Research Assistants, Teaching Assistants, as well as students employees. Although Work Study students were thought to be excluded, they will require a background check if they qualify as an "initial" hires. The only current exception are non-service fellows (who technically, are not employees).
What about Work Study jobs? Weren't they excluded? Is there a special process for them?
Although once thought to be excluded, Work Study does require the background check. Work Study students are required to fill out an I-9 and have payroll taxes deducting from their checks, and so fall under House Bill 3's requirements; however, the Financial Aid department is handling Work Study differently than most other departments. If your department is on-campus and employs a work study student, your department will have to fund the background check. On the other hand, if you are an employer not affiliated with the University, Student Financial Aid is paying for the check.
At one point, the length of time for someone to have not worked at UK was proposed to be five years. Was it resolved in favor of one year?
Yes. During the week of July 17th-20th, it was finalized that the length of separation from the University of Kentucky before a repeat check would be necessary to one (1) calendar year.
Can the hiring process proceed without the check?
Human Resources will not process I-9 paperwork on any initial hire that does not have the national background check initiated. When an applicant arrives at Human Resources to complete their I-9, the background check will be verified; if the check has not been initiated, Human Resources will attempt to contact the hiring official to begin the process. If no hiring official can be found, the applicant will be given a letter to give to the business officer of their new department to facilitate the national background check.
Can employees begin employment before the PNBC results are returned?
Student and Temporary employees may begin work, if there is a legitimate business need which requires them to work before the results come back (typically 2-3 days); however, candidates for regular positions may not begin work prior to the review of the results.
If an applicant is "not viable" based on screening results, who has the responsibility to tell candidate?
1) The hiring department has the responsibility when it is the hiring unit/official for direct hires and the employee is already working on site (employees hired directly and not through UK Career Employment or Temporary Employment)
2) Human Resources will notify initial hire in all cases where the job posting has been coordinated through UK Career Employment or UK Temporary Employment.
Will an adverse or "not viable" rating on one job eliminate an applicant from all employment at the University of Kentucky?
In an instance where an applicant is eliminated from a job pool due to an adverse result, this does not preclude them from other job opportunities at the University of Kentucky; however, if the applicant falsifies their application by failing to disclose prior felony convictions or current felony charges, they may be marked as not eligible for rehire.
Who will get the reports on employees?
Human Resources will receive background check (and for that matter, drug screen) results directly. Note: Online applications will also require self-disclosure of felonies, so hiring department/college should already be aware of applicants' criminal history.
What about medical and surgical residents?
Any residents who were hired prior to the PDS requirement that are hired into faculty or regular positions WILL be required to complete the drug screen; any future resident who submitted to a drug screen when entering their residency at UK WILL NOT be subject to an additional PDS if moving into a faculty position.
Are international applicants required to complete the PNBC process?
The new state law does not require international background checks, only national checks. For international candidates newly, or not yet, in the country, a national background check would not yield any information. After working with Legal Counsel and the Office of International Affairs, it has been determined that an international applicant will be required to have a background check if they have most recently entered the country over one year ago. This will be verified during HR's completion of the I-9 form, by checking the most recent visa stamp in their passport.