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Background Screening Process and Information

The University of West Florida 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.


Background Screenings

Level 1 Background Screenings are conducted 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 (requires fingerprinting) will be completed if a current or new employee’s position is designated as a position that involves working with children, elderly persons, or other vulnerable populations. Some volunteers and student employees are required to be background screened with a 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 Resources 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 and they accept their offer letter in PageUp, the following finalist paperwork becomes available in their PageUp onboarding portal. Human Resources is notified when the candidate completes these documents to begin the Level 1 screening process.

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 allow sufficient lead time 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 rehired within one year from their termination date, a new Level 1 Background Screening will not be needed.

Level 2 Background Screening (fingerprinting)

UWF is required to screen employees and volunteers for positions that involve care, instruction, or supervision of minors, elderly persons, or other vulnerable populations during camps, classes, or events, and employees in positions designated as Special Trust. 

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.

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): Aquatics, ASPIRE, Controller's Office, Enrollment Affairs (including Registrar, Admissions, Financial Aid, Argo Central), General Counsel, Graduate School, Human Resources, Institutional Research, Intercollegiate Athletics, Internal Auditing and Compliance, ITS, Office of Campus Culture and Access, Parking Services, Pensacola Museum of Art, Post Office, Research Administration and Engagement, Student Accessibility Resources, Student Health Center, Title IX, UWF Foundation Inc., UWF Police Department, and UWF SBDC.
  • 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 populations, 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 calendar 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 calendar days.

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 Summer Camp & Background Screening Information for answers regarding DCF Level 2 Background Screenings for summer camps.

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

For student hires or volunteers use the Background Screening Request Dynamic Form. For assistance with completing this form, use the Background Screening Request Form Instructions.

  • Human Resources will contact the student hires or volunteers and provide required documents. For University Work Force, Faculty, Adjunct, and OPS hires the required documents will be provided in PageUp.
  • Fingerprinting appointments are available in HR, building 20E, or at an off-campus vendor.
  • Applicant will arrive at the scheduled fingerprint appointment in HR or with the third-party vendor and provide required paperwork and government-issued photo identification. A photograph and fingerprints of the applicant will be taken at that time. 

Federal Requirements for ERCCD Employees

Employees and volunteers of ERCCD must also undergo the following:

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

There is no cost for the Nationwide Sex Offender Registry check.

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 varies from state to state and is subject to change without notice. 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.

Out-Of-State Criminal History checks cost around $25 but varies and fingerprinting may or may not be required based on the individual state requirement. 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 may grant provisional hiring status for 45 days while an 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.

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


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 contact with minors, elderly persons, or other vulnerable populations. Visit Frequently Asked Questions for answers regarding VECHS Level 2 Background Screenings.

Procedures for VECHS Level 2 Background Screening

  • For students hires or volunteers use the Background Screening Request Dynamic Form. For assistance with completing this form, use the Background Screening Request Form Instructions.
  • Human Resources will contact the student hires or volunteers and provide required documents. For University Work Force, Faculty, Adjunct, and OPS hires the required documents will be provided in PageUp.
  • Fingerprinting appointments are available in HR, building 20E, or at an off-campus vendor.

Applicant will arrive at the scheduled fingerprint appointment in HR or with the third-party vendor and provide required paperwork and government-issued photo identification. A photograph and fingerprints of the applicant will be taken at that time.

Assessing Results

Human Resources will review conviction information on a case-by-case basis for Level 1 and Level 2 background screenings. Information 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 on the UWF Background Screening Request form, in HireRight, or on the VECHS Waiver Agreement and Statement, the offer of employment may 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

  • Human Resources will initially pay for the background screenings.
  • Human Resources will charge back the amount of the background screenings to the department.
  • The hiring department must 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 Human Resources at backgrounds@uwf.edu, 850.474.2694, 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.