XVII. Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why is FSU requiring background checks for all new faculty and staff hires?

A: FSU is committed to maintaining and fostering the safety and security of all students, faculty, staff, and visitors. As part of this commitment, FSU has required pre-employment criminal history background checks on all new salaried faculty and staff since August 1, 2015. OPS and Volunteers require a background check only if warranted by the duties.

Q. Who is responsible for conducting the background check?

A. The Office of Human Resources conducts Criminal History Background Checks.

Q. Who is responsible for the cost of the background check?

A. Hiring departments are responsible for the cost of the background checks.

Q. How do I request a Criminal History Background Check?

A. Full details on how to request a background check are on the Background Check Process Page and Background Check Request Form Page.

Q. How long does a background check take?

A. Barring extenuating circumstances, HR typically receives background checks results within 48-72 hours after candidate initiation. However, there are circumstances checks can take longer than 96 hours so please submit them in a timely manner.

Q. Which positions require fingerprinting?

  • A. In addition to a Standard Criminal History Background Check, a Level 2 Criminal History Background Check shall be conducted for positions that require it under federal or state law, including, but not limited to, the following:
    1. Candidates for positions of special trust or responsibility (see Section 110.1127, Florida Statutes), including those with any of the following duties:
    2. Working or volunteering with minors or other vulnerable populations such as the elderly or those with disabilities;
    3. Positions classified as Vice President level or above by job code/administrative code;
    4. Positions with the FSU Police Department (see Section 943.13, Florida Statutes), and positions with Transportation & Parking Services;
    5. Working with regulated materials [e.g. Select Agents or Toxins (10), DHS Chemicals of Interest (6CFR27, App. A), DEA Controlled Substances (21CFR1301.90), NRC Radioactive Material – Quantities of Concern (NRC EA-07-305) or those in facilities covered by a DOT Security Plan (49CFR172.800)], or for other positions/roles or contracted individuals that may have unescorted access to these materials; and
    6. As required by granting agencies for grants and contracts.


Q: How can I determine what level of background check will be required for a position?

A: The Office of Human Resources will determine the level of background check required based on the review of the completed Background Check Questionnaire within the Job Opening or Job Offer.

Q. When is an International Background Check required?

A. An International Criminal History Background check is required in addition to the Standard or Level 2 screening if a candidate has resided in another country for six months or more within the past seven years. If the duties for an OPS or Volunteer role do not require screening in general, the candidate will not be subject to the International background check simply by having lived outside of the United States.

Q. How much do the International Criminal History Background Checks cost?

A. International Background Checks are conducted using varying factors which may alter the price. Please contact the Office of Human Resources for details on specific situations.

Q. Does this policy apply to Federal Work Study students?

A. Yes. Federal Work Study (FWS) students fall under the OPS requirements in policy. A Background Check Questionnaire is required for each appointment and Human Resources must conduct a background check if required based on their duties. FWS students should not begin work until the Office of Financial Aid has approved the appointment.

Q . Next semester one of my faculty members will be getting promoted from one salaried line to another. Am I required to run a background check?

A. In general, no, as the policy relates to new hire faculty. The only exception being faculty members (including OPS faculty) required by state or federal law to have a background check based on their duties, including positions of special trust or responsibility.

Q . Will current staff and OPS employees moving into a new role be subject to a background check?

A. Internal movement into staff positions require at minimum a Standard background check, or a Level 2 depending on the duties of the new position. The duties of the new OPS position will determine the need of a new background check. If Human Resources has already conducted the same level check within 90 days of the internal movement, a new check may be exempted. Please reference Current Employees/Volunteers section B.1.a. & b. of the Criminal History Background Check Policy for the specifics.

Q. What if a current A&P or USPS employee has never had a background check, does that person need to have a background check done now?

A. Current A&P and USPS employees would not be subject to a Criminal History Background Check unless they are appointed into a new role that requires a background check or there is internal movement from one position number to another. However, if the employee's current position (be it staff, faculty, or OPS) requires a background check under state or federal law, and one has not previously been completed, please contact Human Resources for guidance.

Q. If I have faculty who may be working with minors, what level of background check should I request?

A. Faculty members working with vulnerable populations require a Level 2 criminal history background check. If they will also be working with summer camps, you will need to request the summer camp screening (run under DCF's account per Section 409.175, Florida Statutes) closer to the time of the summer camp, as well.

Q. Does the following section of the policy mean that Graduate Assistants/Teaching Assistants that would have access to student rosters require a background check? "Persons with access to sensitive, secure, and/or confidential personal information on individuals, such as students, faculty, staff, or alumni (e.g. social security numbers, dates of birth, financial account numbers, etc.)"

A. This requirement does not relate to grades, names, majors, email addresses, and the like, but relates to information that could be used for identity theft, such as social security numbers, dates of birth, financial account numbers, etc.

Q. If my department hires a Contractor who will be appointed on a Courtesy record in OMNI and will perform duties listed in Pre-employment section A.3. of the Criminal History Background Check Policy, must they be screened by FSU?

A. Yes, based on those circumstances, FSU must conduct a Background Check for the Courtesy appointment.

Q. Are new hire Graduate Assistants/Teaching Assistants/Research Assistants required to be screened?

A. A Criminal History Background Check must be completed only if the GA's job duties warrant one.

Q. What does the following policy mean in defining who works with "regulated materials?" 4-OP-C-7-B11 Section A. Pre-Employment 2.d, "Level 2 Criminal History Background Check shall be conducted for...Candidates...Working with regulated materials..., or for other positions/roles or contracted individuals that may have unescorted access to these materials;..."

A. Level 2 Background Checks are required for all employees who work with or have unescorted access to regulated materials.

  • "Regulated Materials," includes:
  • Individuals "Working with regulated materials":
    • Includes, but is not limited to: Faculty, Staff, Graduate Assistants, Research Assistants, and technicians who assist in experiments with the regulated materials.
    • Includes all GA's assigned to a professor who conducts research using regulated materials.
    • There is no exception for volumes being used, even if the amount is negligible.
  • Individuals with "Unescorted Access" to regulated materials:
    • Includes anyone with key card access to rooms containing regulated materials or anyone having temporary custody/handling of regulated materials without being escorted/supervised by someone who has completed a Level 2 Background Check.
    • Includes custodial and maintenance workers with keys to rooms containing restricted chemicals.
    • Does NOT include everyone who merely works in a building that holds regulated materials.
    • Includes those who could have custody of or handle regulated materials without constant supervision by an individual who has completed a Level 2 Background Check (e.g., front desk clerk or administrative assistants who deliver packages).


Q. Can contingent language be included in my offer letters?

A. Yes, all offer letters may now be made contingent due to the Background Check Policy updates made September 11, 2017. Offers are contingent upon the successful completion of any required background checks and all University onboarding processes. Candidates cannot begin work until approval is received from the Office of Human Resources for their specific appointments.

Q. Who reviews the results on background checks?

A. If a criminal history background check reveals any criminal history, the Human Resources Criminal History Background Check Committee will review the report and make a recommendation to the department. If the candidate is applying for a faculty position, the Office of Faculty Development & Advancement and/or the Office of the Provost will review all adverse actions prior to them becoming final. The existence of criminal history does not automatically disqualify individuals from employment. Each case will be reviewed on its own merit with respect to the factors outlined below; however, any false answers, statements, or omissions made on the employment application may be grounds for rejection as a candidate for employment or immediate discharge, if employed.

In accordance with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines, the Human Resources Criminal History Background Check Committee takes the following factors into consideration when reviewing criminal history records: 1) the nature and gravity of the offense or conduct, 2) the time period that has lapsed since the offense, 3) conduct and/or completion of the sentence, and 4) the nature of the job held or sought.

Q. Will there be training available?

A. Yes. We offer background check training each semester in person and continuously online. This course is highly recommended for department representatives and hiring managers.

To register, log into myFSU and navigate to: HR > Main Menu > Self Service > Learning and Development > Request Training Enrollment. Follow the prompts to search and submit your request. The course title is Criminal History Background Check Process. The course numbers are COCHB1 (in person) or COCHBO (for online training).