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Office of Human Resources

Employee & Recruitment Services


XIV. GRADUATE ASSISTANTS

FSU's Background Check Policy (reference section A. Pre-Employment, 3., a.-i.) requires background checks for GAs only when certain duties are performed. Policy does not require background checks for all Graduate Assistants (GAs). Duties which may require a background check include:

  1. Level 2 Fingerprinting Background Check
    1. Working with Vulnerable Populations
    2. Access/Use of regulated materials as defined in policy
      1. Includes all GAs assigned to a professor conducting research using regulated materials
    3. If required by a contract or grant
  2. Standard Background Check
    1. Cash handling/financial responsibilities
    2. Master/Grand Master Key or Card access
    3. Access to sensitive information (SSN, DOB, etc.)

QUESTIONNAIRES:

  1. Background Check Questionnaires are required for all new or rehire GA appointments and should be completed within the Background Check Forms Portal. A completed Questionnaire will not always equate requiring the initiation of a background check. Questionnaires are required for:
    1. GAs who are new to the department
    2. GAs being rehired with any break of service
    3. GAs receiving an additional appointment in a different department then the active appointment
      1. GAs receiving additional appointments within the same department do not require Questionnaires unless the additional duties trigger a higher level background check
  2. Background Check Questionnaires are not required for job code, supervisor, or assignment changes which do not trigger a higher level check then previously completed.
  3. Duties: If the GA is likely to perform any of the duties listed on the Questionnaire at any time during their work with the Department, then select "Yes" to that duty and request the initiation of the level of check indicated by the completed Questionnaire. If the GA's duties do un-expectantly change and might trigger a higher-level check than previously completed, complete a Questionnaire and coordinate a new check with HR.
    1. Example: If the GA is hired into Chemistry and will teach for the first 2 semesters, but will most likely be responsible for labs and chemicals the following summer, complete the Level 2 check upon original appointment. The Level 2 check completed will be good for the life of the GA appointment.
  4. Number of Questionnaires Required for GA appointments: A single, Blanket Questionnaire may be used to cover more than one appointment, when the duties that would trigger a background check are the same for all GA's being appointed. A Blanket Questionnaire can be completed within the Background Check Forms Portal. (e.g., one Questionnaire could be submitted for all GAs who will work in the Chemistry labs).
  5. If a GA Switches Departments: If a current GA moves between departments, the department they are entering should include the incoming GA on their "new to your department" Blanket Questionnaire submitted to Human Resources. This will catch any changes in duties that could require a background check or higher-level background check on a GA moving to a new department. If a background check of the same level or higher has already been completed for a previous GA appointment, it will still be valid for the new appointment.
  6. If the Questionnaire indicates that no background check is required, the Questionnaire will be logged by HR and the department notified. No further action will be required on the department's part.

BACKGROUND CHECK REQUEST FORMS:

  1. New Hires: If the Questionnaire indicates that a Background Check is required, then the department will complete a Background Check Request Form using the Background Check Forms Portal for each GA on the Blanket Questionnaire.
  2. Current or Rehire GAs: If the Questionnaire indicates that a Background Check is required, then the department should coordinate with HR to determine if a previous background check is valid for any of the GAs listed on the Blanket Questionnaire. If previous background checks are not valid, the department will complete a Background Check Request Form using the Background Check Forms Portal for each GA requiring a new background check on the Blanket Questionnaire.

GRADUATE ASSISTANT BACKGROUND CHECK VALIDITY PERIOD:

  1. Once a background check is completed on a GA, outside of the exceptions listed below, it is valid for the life of the student's GA employment with the University.
    1. A new background check is required if the GA:
      1. Switches appointments, triggering a higher-level check.
      2. There is a true break in service (terminated from all OMNI appointments for 31+ days) and the individual is being considered for rehire.
      3. Cares for vulnerable populations and has a 90+ day gap in funding at FSU.
      4. Will be working in a summer camp which requires a DCF Level 2 Summer Camp check and must be completed prior to the summer camp employment. Please consult with the separate Summer Camp resources for specific instructions.

GA OFFER LETTERS SHOULD INCLUDE:

Contingent language: Contingent language should be included in the original offer letter to provide the GA adequate notice that a background check may be required of his/her appointment at any time based upon assigned duties.