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3.1.30 Criminal Background Investigation Policy

To create a safe and secure work and learning environment, and in accordance with all applicable laws, Illinois State University (ISU) will condition offers of employment or appointment, including new hires and/or transfers of existing employees, upon a satisfactory criminal background investigation.  All final candidates for Laboratory School positions and any applicant or employee with assigned work connected to the Laboratory Schools will be required to complete a satisfactory fingerprint-based criminal background investigation and a satisfactory employment history review pursuant to Illinois law.

The determination of "satisfactory" is at the sole discretion of the University, in accordance with all applicable laws. ISU may refuse to hire a finalist, may rescind an offer of employment to a finalist, or may review and terminate the employment of a current employee based on the results of the background investigation process. Criminal background investigations must be completed, and the results reviewed, prior to the first day of employment. No applicant or employee may begin working until the criminal background investigation results and (if applicable) the employment history review have been received and cleared by Human Resources.

When a current employee is transferred to a new position and has not already completed a criminal background investigation, one must be completed.  When a current employee is transferred to a position with assigned work connected to the Laboratory schools and has not already completed an employment history review, one must be completed as well.

Any employee who is convicted of a criminal offense after their initial hire date must inform Human Resources of this information. A failure to provide information to Human Resources may lead to disciplinary action, up to and including termination. 

Any applicant or employee who is subsequently found to have provided false or misleading information related to the criminal background investigation or the employment history review will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

Information on the procedure and appropriate forms necessary to complete criminal background investigations and the employment history review can be accessed under the Employment Processing Forms on the Human Resources website.

Position Description and Vacancy Notice

Departments should include a statement in each position description and vacancy notice that a criminal background investigation and (if applicable) an employment history review will be conducted. Please contact Human Resources (309-438-8311) for the appropriate language.


Applicants for employment through the online recruitment system must indicate if they have ever pled guilty to or been convicted of any criminal offense other than a minor traffic violation. A criminal background investigation and (if applicable) an employment history review may be initiated by Human Resources on each applicant.  Indicating a criminal history on the application will not automatically disqualify the applicant for employment. However, any applicant who fails to disclose criminal history information as indicated on the application or (if applicable) information required on the employment history review form may be ineligible for employment.


The criminal background investigation and (if applicable) an employment history review will be initiated by Human Resources on all finalists.  These reviews are only part of the hiring process and are not meant to serve as a substitute for a pre-employment reference check.

An applicant or employee who refuses to consent to any form of required review, refuses to provide information necessary to conduct a review, or provides false or misleading information will not be considered for the position for which they applied.

Human Resources will notify the hiring department contact of the results. The hiring department will not make a hiring decision based solely on criminal history information provided by the applicant on the application.  If the hiring department has questions about criminal history information disclosed by an applicant, they may contact their HR Employment Consultant.

Criminal Background Review

If any information on the application or the criminal background investigation (but not the employment history review) indicates a criminal history, this information will be initially reviewed by the Human Resources Background Review Committee (HRBRC).  This committee will consist of current Human Resources staff.  The HRBRC will make an initial review of criminal history information disclosed by the applicant and/or found on the criminal background investigation and provide the candidate a written preliminary decision on whether the applicant may move forward in the employment process.

The HRBRC will use the following criteria to make a preliminary determination:

  1. is there a substantial relationship between one or more of the previous criminal offenses and the employment sought or held; or
  2. would the granting or continuation of the employment involve an unreasonable risk to property or to the safety or welfare of specific individuals or the general public.

The HRBRC shall use the following factors to make the preliminary determination of whether criminal history records and/or employment application disclosure meets the criteria above:

  1. The nature and seriousness of the offenses for which the final candidate was convicted and their relationship to the safety and security of others;
  2. The number of such offenses;
  3. The facts or circumstances surrounding the conviction(s);
  4. The age of the candidate at the time of the conviction(s);
  5. The length of time since the conviction(s);
  6. Whether such criminal convictions are substantially related to the nature of the position held or sought;
  7. Evidence of rehabilitation efforts;
  8. Additional responsive information provided by the candidate regarding their criminal history record, including but not limited to, character references, employment references, educational achievements, completion of the sentence, and other mitigating circumstances; and
  9. The accuracy of information provided to the University; inconsistent information may lead to disqualification.

If a preliminary decision is made to remove a candidate from the employment process by the HRBRC, Human Resources will provide access to the criminal background investigation and written notice to the candidate that they will have five (5) business days from date of the notice to provide any information they want to have reviewed before the Criminal Background Review Committee (CBRC) makes a final decision. 

The Criminal Background Review Committee (CBRC) is typically comprised of representatives of the following offices: Campus Police, Office of Equal Opportunity and Access, Human Resources, Student Affairs, General Counsel, and any other offices deemed applicable.  The CBRC will review the disclosure on the application, the criminal background investigation report and any information provided by the candidate.  Using the above guidelines, the Committee will make a final decision.  That decision will be communicated in writing to the applicant by Human Resources on behalf of the CBRC.  If the preliminary decision to remove the candidate is upheld, the candidate may appeal in writing to the Associate Vice President for Human Resources. The appeal letter must be postmarked or delivered to Human Resources (101 Nelson Smith Building, Campus Box 1300) within five (5) business days of the date of the final decision letter. The candidate also has a right to file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights.

Policy Owners: Human Resources and Office of General Counsel

Contact: Human Resources (309-438-8311)

Revised on: 05/2023

2023-06-02T09:02:53.47277-07:00 2023