Background Screening Process and Information


Background Screenings

The University of West Florida (UWF) is committed to protecting the safety and security of the faculty, staff, and students, as well as safeguarding the interests of UWF.   In an effort to help provide this safety and security, UWF conducts criminal background history screenings (Level 1 Background Screening (UWF) on all final candidates for Executive Service, University Work Force (staff), Faculty, Adjunct, and OPS positions prior to an offer of employment. Current employees of the University may be subject to background screening when being considered for a new position/role or under other circumstances.

In addition, a Level 2 Background Screening (fingerprinting) will be completed if a current or new employee’s position is designated as a position of special trust. Some volunteers and student employees are required to be background screened (Level 2) depending on the area, program or population they will encounter during the course and scope of work.  A candidate’s refusal to submit to background screening or fingerprinting shall disqualify the candidate from consideration for employment (Human Resource policy, HR-20.02-09/15).

Types of Background Screenings

Level 1 Background Screening (UWF)

Once a finalist has been identified for a new or vacant Executive Service, University Work Force (staff), Faculty, Adjunct or OPS position, the following Finalist Paperwork should be sent to Human Resources to begin the Level 1 screening process.

Note:  Employees in Positions of Special Trust also require a Level 2 screening. 

Human Resources will input the background screening request upon receipt. The employment candidate will receive an email from HireRight, the UWF background screening vendor, seeking consent for the screening. Please ensure the candidate responds to this email in a timely manner. Background screenings can take anywhere from three days to several weeks for completion depending on circumstances, so please be sure sufficient lead time is allotted for the process.

No official offer of employment shall be extended until the hiring department receives notification from Human Resources stating that the background screening is complete and an employment offer may be extended. A contingent offer of employment can be extended to the applicant pending the successful completion of a background screening.

  • Rehires: If a former employee who has previously completed a Level 1 is hired within one year from his/her termination date, he/she will not need a new Level 1 Background Screening (UWF). The employee will be required to submit a new FRS Certification regardless of length of break in service.

Level 2 Background Screening (fingerprinting)

The Level 2 background screening is required for those positions designated as special trust positions. 

Positions of Special Trust

Individuals occupying a Position of Special Trust must undergo a successful Level 2 Background Screen (fingerprinting) prior to being hired. This includes OPS employees, student employees, and volunteers. [1] 

These positions are considered positions of special trust: 

  • Designated by President, Vice Presidents or designee to be a position of special trust or responsibility.
  • Positions in these classifications: President, Vice President, Provost, or identified as Executive Service.
  • Positions in the following departments (if not already covered by the Positions of Special Trust list): ASPIRE, Controller's Office, EEO/ADA, Enrollment Affairs (including Registrar, Admissions, Financial Aid, Argo Central), General Counsel, Graduate School, Human Resources, Institutional Research, Internal Auditing & Compliance, ITS, Post Office, Research and Sponsored Programs, Student Health Center, Title IX, UWF Foundation Inc., and the UWF Police Department.
  • As required by granting agencies for grants or contracts.
  • As required by federal or state law.

Positions with the following types of responsibilities are considered Positions of Special Trust at UWF: 

  • Works with minors or other vulnerable population such as the elderly or those with disabilities.
  • Access to, or control over, cash, checks, credit/debit cards, and financial account information including accounts receivable.
  • Assigned a PCard.
  • Updates, prepares, generates, or enters a transaction that will result in one of the following:  refund, wire transfer, money transfers, fiscal and PCard transactions or vendor changes.
  • Control over fiscal operational processes either through functional roles or system security access (e.g., ability to process a payment, print or distribute checks, or process payroll corrections).
  • Significant inventory control responsibilities, including the receipt and release of inventory.
  • Persons authorized for a grand master or building master key and/or equivalent UWF building access.
  • Access to sensitive, confidential, and personally identifiable information on students, faculty, staff, customers, research subjects or alumni (e.g., social security numbers, dates of birth, financial numbers, etc.). This includes anyone conducting surveys where personal data is collected.
  • Work with hazardous or regulated materials. This includes medical and biohazardous waste/substances such as bodily fluids.   Exception:  Undergraduate laboratory assistants supervised by Level 2-approved graduate student or faculty instructors do NOT have to undergo Level 2 screenings. 

Level 2 background screen (fingerprinting) should not be requested earlier than 60 days before beginning employment or volunteering. 

Level 2 Background rescreening is required every five years or when there has been a break in service longer than 90 days.

The agency that will conduct the Level 2 background screening depends on the type/nature of the position. The Department of Children and Families conducts Level 2 background screenings for summer camps and the Educational Research Center for Child Development (ERCCD). The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (VECHS) conducts all other Level 2 background screenings for covered positions.

The following candidate information is required for both types of Level 2 fingerprint screening appointments: 

  • Full Name and any other names used (e.g. married name, maiden name, etc.)
  • States Resided in during previous five years
  • Social Security Number
  • Current Address, including street address, city, state, zip, and county
  • Daytime Phone Number
  • Date of Birth
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Race
  • Gender
  • Hair Color
  • Eye Color
  • Driver’s License Number and State of Issue
  • State of Birth

Department of Children and Families (DCF) Level 2 Background Screens for Educational Research Center for Child Development (ERCCD) and Summer Camps

Screening for ERCCD, summer day camps, and summer 24-hour camps include owners, operators, employees, and volunteers. However, volunteers who assist on an intermittent basis for less than 10 hours per month do not need to be screened if a person who meets the screening requirement is always present with the volunteer and has the volunteer in his or her line of sight at all times. Visit Frequently Asked Questions for answers regarding DCF Level 2 Background Screenings for summer camps.

Procedures for DCF Level 2 Background Screening for ERCCD and Summer Camps:

  • Using Background Screening Form, complete Hiring Department section, Level 1 section, if required for position, and Level 2 section for DCF. Provide hiring department’s index number for chargeback of Level 2 screening cost. Forward this form to Human Resources as soon as possible.
  • Applicant and/or hiring department will contact Human Resources at 850-474-2694 to request a fingerprint registration appointment for a Level 2 background.
  • Applicant will report to HR, building 20E, at the time of their scheduled appointment (with a government-issued photo ID), complete required DCF paperwork, and obtain documentation to take to their appointment, which will be at a future date off campus.
  • Applicant will arrive at the scheduled fingerprint appointment with the third-party vendor and provide them with their paperwork and government-issued photo identification. The vendor will take a photograph and the fingerprints of the applicant.

New Federal Requirements for ERCCD Employees

Beginning July 1, 2016, background screening for each employee/volunteer who is employed in the ERCCD must also undergo the following: 

  • In-State Sex Offender Registry check
  • In-State Child Abuse and Neglect Registry check
  • Out-Of-State Sex Offender Registry check for any other state the employee/volunteer has lived in for the past five years
  • Out-Of-State Child Abuse and Neglect Registry check for any other state the employee/volunteer has lived in for the past five years

There is no cost for the in-state Sex Offender Registry, the in-state Child Abuse and Neglect Registry or the out-of-state Sex Offender Registry.

There is a cost associated with the Child Abuse and Neglect Registry check for employees who lived out of state the five years immediately preceding application. The cost associated with this screening could range from $0-$28.00 (subject to change). This cost will be charged back to the employing department. It may take up to 30 days to receive out-of-state Child Abuse and Neglect Registry results.

Human Resources will conduct these checks and receive the results directly. The department will be notified by Human Resources via email the eligibility of the candidate.

DCF Only: Applicants residing outside Florida within the past five years: While you are waiting for the out-of-state results, if the individual meets the Florida Level 2 screening requirements, DCF may grant provisional hiring status for 45 days while the out-of-state check is pending. During provisional employment, the individual must be in the line of sight of an employee who has already met all screening/training requirements. DCF’s Background Screening Unit will issue an eligible or non-eligible result for employment through the Clearinghouse upon completion of searches and results from other states 

Volunteer & Employee Criminal History System (VECHS) Level 2 Background Screening (Non-Summer Camp and non-ERCCD)

Through the VECHS program, FDLE and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) provide qualified organizations in Florida with state and national criminal history record information on applicants, employees, and volunteers. With this criminal history information, the organizations can more effectively screen out those current and prospective volunteers and employees who are not suitable for Positions of Special Trust. Visit Frequently Asked Questions  for answers regarding VECHS Level 2 Background Screenings.

Procedures for VECHS Level 2 Background Screening

  • Submit the completed VECHS Waiver Agreement and Statement‌ form to Human Resources.
  • Enter candidate into Level 2 background screening GoogleSheet.
    • Contact Human Resources, 850-474-2694, for access to the Level 2 Google Sheet if you have not already obtained access.
  • Register your candidate for a Live Scan fingerprinting appointment with the following UWF Approved Vendor: IdentoGO by Morphotrust (Banner ID B00067599). If applicant lives out of town and needs Level 2 fingerprinting, contact Human Resources for assistance. 
    • Select VECHS – Volunteer & Employee Criminal History System as the Agency Name on the Application Details page.
    • Choose Employee or Volunteer from the dropdown menu.
    • Enter Qualified Entity Number (OEN):  17020011
    • Select location, date, and time of fingerprint appointment.
    • Enter candidate’s data, review, and submit.
    • Prepay at the end of scheduling with a PCard (print receipt).
    • Provide an appointment date and time to the candidate to have their fingerprints processed at any Florida IdentoGO location.
    • Provide candidate the following documents to take to the fingerprinting appointment:
      • Copy of the candidate’s Registration form for IdentoGO by Morphotrust USA
      • Copy of Payment Receipt
      • Candidate must also provide a government-issued photo ID at the time of the appointment

Screening results will be delivered by VECHS to Human Resources. The employing department will be notified via email by Human Resources of the candidate’s eligibility for employment.

Assessing Results

Human Resources in consultation with the UWF Police Department will review conviction information on a case-by-case basis for Level 1 and Level 2 background screenings. Information that will be taken into account: 

  • The nature of the offense(s);
  • The time that has passed since the offense had occurred;
  • The rehabilitation record, actions, and activities of the individual since the conviction including subsequent work history; and
  • The nature of the position sought.  

The existence of a conviction does not automatically disqualify a candidate from employment. Each case will be judged on its own merit with respect to the above factors. However, the candidate must have given a truthful and comprehensive disclosure of the conviction for employment consideration. Guilty verdicts, guilty pleas, and pleas of nolo contendere (no contest) must be included in the disclosure. Candidates will have an opportunity to provide relevant information for consideration in making any employment decision.

If a criminal history background screen reveals any convictions of a felony or a first degree misdemeanor and the candidate failed to disclose it on the UWF Background Screening Request form or the VECHS Waiver Agreement and Statement, the offer of employment will be withdrawn. 

Recordkeeping

All completed criminal history background screens shall be maintained in Human Resources and shall be kept separate from employee personnel files. Background screens, except criminal conviction records, are subject to the Florida Public Records laws.

UWF will ensure that all background screens are held in compliance with federal and state statutes, such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act, when applicable.

Billing

  • UWF Background Screen: The Level 1 Background Screening (UWF) is centrally funded in Human Resources.
  • Level 2 Background Screenings (fingerprinting)—VECHS (Non-DCF & Non-ERCCD): Departments pay with their Pcard at the time of registration and are responsible for all expenses/charges incurred for a Level 2 Background Screening.
  • Level 2 Background Screen (fingerprinting)—DCF (Summer camp & ERCCD):
    • Human Resources will initially pay for the background screenings
    • Human Resources will charge back the amount of the background screenings to the department
    • The department will ensure that sufficient funds to cover the expense of the background screenings are credited back to Human Resources in a timely manner

Feel free to contact Candace Freeman, cfreeman@uwf.edu, 850-474-2205 or Jamie Sprague, jsprague@uwf.edu, 850-474-2156, with any questions regarding background screenings. 


[1] Volunteers who assist on an intermittent basis for less than 10 hours per month do not need to be screened if a person who meets the screening requirements is always present with the volunteer and has the volunteer in his or her line of sight at all times.

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