1.085 Background Investigations

Origination date: 10/1/93
Revised: 2/1/2006
Applicability: Academic Professionals, Administrators, Classified Staff, Faculty, Service Professionals, Student Employees, Temporary Employees, Graduate Assistants, Adjunct Faculty, Volunteers, Interns


ABOR Policy #6-709

ARS 15-1649


A minimum of a criminal background investigation and an employment history investigation will be completed on the final candidate for all regular full time and part time positions at Northern Arizona University with the addition of an academic credentials check for faculty and administrator positions.                                                                                                                                                                              

A minimum of a criminal background investigation, employment history investigation and fingerprint check, with the addition of an academic credentials check for faculty and administrator positions, will be completed on the final candidate, including internal hires for whom some portion of this process has not been previously completed, who:

indicates, or is determined through background investigation, that she/he has a prior conviction; and/or                                                                                                                                                                       

is being hired for or assigned duties of a security, safety-sensitive position as defined by one or more of the following criteria:

  • University administrators (an officer who reports directly to the president or to a vice president and who is responsible for planning, organizing, directing, controlling and evaluating the activities of a major segment of a university; promulgating and implementing university rules and regulations; preparing and administering the organizational budget; maintaining relationships with administrative officials and members of business, government and civic communities).
  • Positions that have unsupervised contact with minors who are not enrolled students of the university.
  • Positions for which a fingerprint check is prescribed by federal or state law (such as: positions that have direct access to Select Agents, as defined by the USA Patriot Act of 2001 and the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness Response Act of 2002, except where excluded by law because the Principal Investigator does not, at any time, exceed the Select Agent regulatory thresholds quantities specified under the applicable regulations, or employees of the Northern Arizona University Police Department (NAUPD). Preemployment screening for these individuals shall be conducted in accordance with NAU PD hiring protocols)
  • Positions with unrestricted access to residence hall rooms/apartments.
  • Positions with control over fiscal assets as a job responsibility. These responsibilities include but are not limited to: final approval authority and/or the ability to generate disbursements within the financial accounting systems without further approval, having direct and regular access to cash and cash equivalents of $500 or more, or having other fiduciary duties to NAU such as fund custodian supervision, as determined on a case-by-case basis.
  • Positions with authority to sign contracts on behalf of the university requiring the expenditure of funds.
  • Positions with oversight and/or management of institutional systems and/ or access to information that poses a significant risk to the University as determined on a case by case basis.
  • Finalists who indicate a prior criminal felony offense or other criminal conviction that may indicate unsuitability for university employment.

Additional levels of background investigation may be conducted, and hiring officials will identify additional background investigation reports necessary to make informed hiring decisions.

All hiring departments are responsible for the implementation of this policy.

All forms of background investigations, with the exception of fingerprinting, must be completed prior to a candidate’s first day of employment.

No offer of employment may be made, orally or in writing, until either:

  • The background investigation and/or fingerprinting check has been completed and its results provided to the hiring official, or;
  • The candidate has been notified that any offer made by the hiring official is contingent upon successful completion of a background investigation and/or fingerprinting check.

Adverse Findings:

In the event that a final candidate makes false representation or omits factual information in the application/selection process, he/she, at a minimum, will not be selected for the position or be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination (see Policy #5.19).

An employee who has a record of a criminal conviction prior or subsequent to being hired may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination (see Policy # 5.19 )

Hiring of applicants convicted of felony offenses shall require presidential approval prior to any final offer of employment.

In considering whether to hire, retain, or terminate an employee or candidate who has been convicted of a criminal offense prior to or during employment, the university shall consider the following factors:

  • Whether the nature of the criminal conviction is relevant to the duties of the position;
  • If the criminal offense was committed by a minor for which proceedings were held under the jurisdiction of a juvenile or an adult court;
  • If the employee or candidate has been pardoned or if the sentence has been commuted or reversed on appeal; and
  • The employee’s or candidate’s employment history since the commission of the criminal offense.

The university may release the results of a reference check and background investigation to another university under the jurisdiction of the Arizona Board of Regents for employment purposes.

The university may require a background investigation and/or fingerprinting check for volunteers or other affiliates associated with Nothern Arizona University under certain circumstances as determined by the appropriate Vice President/Provost.


Additional levels of background investigations shall be identified by focusing on specific risk factors such as: degree verification, requirement current certification or licensure, health care providers (e.g., employees of Fronske Health Center, Counseling and Testing Center, Employee Assistance and Wellness Center, athletic trainers, etc.), investing university funds, etc.

Departments will receive assistance from their Human Resources Department representative, in understanding the responsibilities related to the background investigation process.

The process and explanation of responsibilities as well as all forms and information are available on the Human Resources Department web site at http://hr.nau.edu/node/2128