Pre-Employment Background Screening Policy

Villanova University is committed to protecting the security and safety of students, faculty, staff and others working in or utilizing University facilities, and safeguarding the assets and resources of the University. Background checks serve as an important part of the employment selection process and are required prior to hiring all faculty, staff, and temporary employees regardless of the duration of employment, and for current employees seeking certain promotional opportunities or transfers. The check may include, but is not limited to: criminal history screening, verification of social security number, prior work verification, verification of academic credentials, credit history, motor vehicle history, drug testing, and other testing deemed relevant based on the nature and duties of the position(s) sought.  The investigation will be conducted by a qualified vendor selected and approved by the University to conduct such investigations.

Background checks are conducted with the full knowledge and acquiescence of the individual. Applicants are required to sign a release authorizing the background investigation and the release of information by current and former employers, educational institutions and other organizations. This release includes the applicant’s rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.  A refusal to sign a release form eliminates the applicant from further consideration for employment.

The University provides written notice of the background check requirement on the applicant job posting home page and on the Employment page of the Human Resources website, advising that “All offers of employment are based upon satisfactory completion of background screening checks.”

All information obtained through the background check process, including criminal history, is highly confidential and access to such information is limited to those individuals who have a need to know. To ensure confidentiality of all applicant information, the Human Resources department coordinates the background investigation process and results of the background investigation are retained confidentially by Human Resources.

Unless otherwise provided by law, having a criminal conviction or poor credit history does not necessarily preclude employment. The nature of the offense and its relevance to the applicant’s suitability for the particular position, in particular, whether the individual’s employment by the University poses an unacceptable risk, is considered on a case-by-case basis.  The Associate Vice President for Human Resources (or designee), in consultation with the hiring supervisor and the Office of the Vice President and General Counsel, evaluates the applicant’s suitability for the position and makes the final employment determination, carefully considering the potential impact of the conviction on the safety and security of the campus community and the security of University assets.

Factors considered in determining suitability may include, but are not be limited to the following:

  • The relevance of the crime(s) to the responsibilities of the position sought
  • The length of time since the conviction
  • The age of the candidate at the time of the offense
  • The seriousness and specific circumstances of the offense
  • The number of offenses
  • Whether the applicant has pending charges
  • Evidence of applicant’s rehabilitation efforts
  • The truthfulness and accuracy of information on the application and other material provided in support of the application.

Should Villanova University be considering an adverse decision on an applicant based on the background check information, the applicant will be informed in writing of the notice of adverse information discovered and the source of the background check report and be given a copy of the report.  The applicant will be provided the opportunity to respond to the notification and to dispute the accuracy of the background check information. In accordance with the Pennsylvania Criminal History Records Information Act, the University will notify an applicant in writing if the decision not to hire the applicant is based in whole or in part on criminal history record information.

Any offers made before a background check has been completed must be made conditional upon satisfactory completion of the background check. Employment may begin prior to completion of the background check only as a conditional offer of employment and after the hiring manager establishes a compelling need to the satisfaction of Human Resources. Conditional offers shall be withdrawn if the results of the background check are deemed to disqualify the applicant for the position (regardless of whether conditional employment has begun).

The University reserves the right to decline an applicant or to discipline or terminate an employee who has provided false, misleading, erroneous or deceptive information verbally or on an application, resume, or other written materials, or who has omitted material information during the hiring process. 

The costs associated with background checks for full and part time staff and faculty will be borne by Human Resources; costs for all others, including temporary employees, staffing for special summer programs and volunteers are the responsibility of the hiring unit.