Human Resources

Board of Trustees Policy

Subject: Pre-Employment Background Checks

Number: 6.10

Date: September 2015

Supersedes: June 2012, January 2011, September 2005


In keeping with Montgomery County Community College’s goal of building a modern and model workplace and of providing a safe and secure environment for the campus community, the College will conduct pre-employment background checks on all prospective employees and volunteers. In aligning the College with Act 153 mandates, prospective employees, current employees, and volunteers who are assigned to positions that include access to children, whether it is in the College’s daycare facility, summer camp, dual-enrollment program (on and off-campus) or in area schools as well as positions involving contact with healthcare facilities and nursing homes will be required to submit to three mandatory clearances: PA Child Abuse Clearance, PA State Police Criminal Clearance, and the FBI Fingerprinting Clearance.


The Human Resources Department of Montgomery County Community College shall initiate an appropriate pre-employment background check on every new hire and volunteer. The Human Resources Department will initiate all background checks and clearances. Background checks and clearances will be conducted by an independent entity whose primary business it is to conduct background checks. 


As part of the application process, following the offer of employment, the selected candidate will receive an email from the College explaining the electronic background check process and outlining the College’s intent to conduct a pre-employment background check. The background check company contacts the selected candidate electronically with a secure login and password where they will read the summary of their rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and complete the pre-employment background check form. As a condition of employment, candidates must sign an authorization for release of information covered by the FCRA. Candidates unwilling to sign the authorization form will be eliminated from the selection process.
ACT 153 of 2014
ACT 153 mandates three additional clearances: PA Child Abuse Clearances, PA State Police Criminal Clearances, and Federal Criminal History Records (CHRI) through FBI Fingerprinting. ACT 153 exempts higher education institutions from obtaining clearances if their contact with minors involves matriculated students enrolled at the school or prospective students visiting the campus. The College requires all three clearances for positions that include access to children, whether it is in the College’s daycare facility, summer camp, or in area schools (i.e. dual enrollment), as well as positions involving contact with healthcare facilities and nursing homes. All three clearances must be renewed every five years.

  • Prospective Employees - The PA Child Abuse Clearance typically takes three weeks; employees are permitted to work for thirty days without this clearance if they submit the PA Child Abuse information that is requested by our background company prior to their start date. The PA State Police Criminal Clearance and FBI Fingerprinting must be completed prior to an employee starting at the College. These prospective employees may be hired pending the successful outcome of the required background checks and clearances.
  • Current Employees –These clearances may be requested at any point during an employee’s history at the College when it is determined that the employee’s position meets the criteria for such checks and clearances.
  • Volunteers – Volunteers who are age 18 or older are required to obtain the clearances if they provide “care, supervision, guidance or control” of children and have regular and repeated contact with them as an integral part of their responsibilities. Adult volunteers who have lived in PA consistently for the past 10 years are not required to complete the FBI Fingerprinting.  However, any volunteer who has lived outside of the state within the past 10 years must obtain the FBI Fingerprinting check.

Offers of employment are made contingent on the pre-employment background check and clearance results. Employment begins after the background check and clearance results have been obtained and reviewed to the satisfaction of the Executive Director of Human Resources or to the satisfaction of his or her designee. When adequate time does not exist to complete the pre-employment background check process, such as with adjunct faculty, obtaining a satisfactory background check will be a condition for continued employment. An Affidavit for provisional employment in compliance with Pennsylvania Act 153 will also be signed.
Background Check Levels
There are several levels of background checks used by the College. The hiring manager determines the level that is required for a vacant position. The pre-employment background check levels are as follows:
Criminal Package consists of

  • Criminal Felony and Misdemeanor—Performs fundamental criminal searches that reveal felonies and misdemeanour’s by searching county courthouse records corresponding to an applicant’s address history. This search finds, confirms, and reports a candidate’s felony and misdemeanour records history.
  • SSN Trace—Reveals the names and addresses associated with a Social Security Number (SSN) using credit bureau records. This provides the essential information necessary for other services and can help detect an incorrect or compromised SSN.
  • National Criminal Search—Report includes state and county criminal records, parole records, and sex offender registry checks. As opposed to the Criminal Felony and Misdemeanour search, this search provides information about crimes committed in areas where the applicant did not live. This search is based on the applicants name and date of birth.
  • National Sex Offender Registry—Reveals records for known sex offenders by checking U.S. Department of Justice databases. Results include registered sex offender information for all fifty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam.
  • Education Report confirms degree, certificate, or diploma claims directly with institutions or their authorized agents. Results are checked against a database of fictitious schools and diploma mills and include institution name, dates of attendance, current status and degree, certificate, or diploma issued with award dates.
  • MVR Report (Motor Vehicle Records) reveals the status of an individual’s driver’s license, license type, endorsements, restrictions, driving violations, suspensions, and revocations. An MVR check is recommended for any applicant that may be driving a truck, company car, or heavy machinery. In some states, convictions such as driving under the influence (DUI) are not reported on court records but are revealed in the driving record.
  • Credit History Check reviews the comprehensive credit history of a candidate. It provides information about the status of negative accounts, accounts in collections, inquiries by third parties, and more. Understanding credit history may be relevant for individuals with access to cash, budgets, or discretionary spending.

 ACT 153 Requirements:
  • PA State Police Clearance - This clearance performs criminal searches of state law enforcement agency repositories in the United States that typically contain misdemeanours, felonies, and traffic offenses committed by an individual. To be licensed or to work in certain healthcare positions, individuals are required by state regulations to be pre-screened through these repositories to confirm that they meet specific employment criteria. This is one of the three required background checks or clearances mandated by the state of Pennsylvania.
  • PA Child Abuse Clearance - Most states maintain child abuse registries, but the way in which they are maintained and the reasons for having them vary by state. The state of Pennsylvania requires that prospective employees in certain healthcare settings as well as employees in schools who have contact with children must obtain a Child Abuse History Clearance from the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare This is one of the three required background checks or clearances set by the state of Pennsylvania.
  • Federal Criminal History Record Information (CHRI)—This report is required on all prospective employees who will have contact with children as well as employees whose position requires them to enter certain healthcare facilities and nursing homes. The CHRI is the result of an FBI fingerprint-based background check. Act 114 requires this report be reviewed as prescribed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. This is one of three required background checks or clearances set by the state of Pennsylvania.

Pre-Adverse and Adverse Action Procedures

When an adverse report is received, the College will notify the prospective employee, current employee, or volunteer by written communication that the results of the background checks and clearances warrant further review. In addition to this letter, the prospective employee, current employee, or volunteer will be sent the Summary of Rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act and their consumer credit report. The prospective employee, current employee, or volunteer will be given three days to explain the adverse information. If the prospective employee or volunteer does not supply a satisfactory justification explaining the adverse information within three days, the prospective employee will no longer be considered for the position in question.  If the current employee or volunteer does not supply a satisfactory justification explaining the adverse information within three days, he or she will no longer be considered an employee or volunteer of the College.

The adverse information obtained from the reporting process will be reviewed by the Executive Director of Human Resources or his or her designee and the hiring manager.
If the College declines to hire a candidate or continue employment for a current employee or volunteer due to information uncovered as a result of the pre-employment background check, the Human Resources Department will notify the candidate using the Notice of Adverse Action letter that he or she is not eligible for employment at the College.

Information uncovered through the pre-employment background check will remain on file in the Human Resources Department, along with other materials related to the application process, for the period of time mandated by law.