Secrets of the Job Hunt


Monday, October 20, 2008

Employment Background Checks for University

One problem that many have with pre-employment background checks are the fact that they call into question issues of personal privacy. Does an employer have the right to protect their business and search for more information before hiring or is it more important to allow an individual to keep their past private?

Recently the University of Utah has been trying to create a new pre-employment background check policy, but some are concerned about the aforementioned issues among others. Officials at the University hope that instituting such a policy would ensure that the best teachers and other employees are hired and protect students from dangerous individuals.

Background checks are now required by Utah House Bill 196, which was passed unanimously in 2007. According to this legislation, Universities are required to begin investigating new applicants by May 1st of next year. The law is most concerned with checks being conducted on individuals who will have “significant contact with a minor” or will be taking positions that are “security sensitive.”

At a recent Academic Senate meeting, concerns about the creation of the policy were brought up.
“There might be an arrest for political protest in one’s past. We would want that to never preclude someone being offered employment,” said senate President Paul Mogren in a recent interview. “Other youth discretions may come up. Anything that comes up on the criminal is not grounds for not hiring someone.”

Back in 2003, these issues came to the foreground when it was discovered that a Pennsylvania State University professor had taken part in a triple murder when he was 17 years old. During the time, several experts stated that they believed universities would be conducting pre-employment background checks within the next several years.

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