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 Department of Human Resources & Equal Opportunity

Workers' Comp

Background Checks


Conducting a background check on prospective employees is a critical part of the selection process. This procedure validates the information that was given in the application and during the interview. This help ensures that the hiring decision is based on factual data. There have been instances in both academic and non-academic where employment and even educational information is exaggerated and/or falsified. Effective background checks also help limit the risk of legal issues.

Legal Issue:

One issue that is related to conducting background checks is referred to as "negligent hiring". An example of "negligent hiring" is when an employer fails to complete a background check on a prospective employee who has had a record of violent or sexual harassment behavior in the past. If that prospective employee is then hired and causes harm to another individual, that person could maintain (in a court of law) that the organization was negligent in their hiring decision.


UMD has adopted the following policy, which is designated to increase effectiveness and minimize risk.

A job offer is contingent upon the completion of the hiring certification. This form requires that degrees, certifications, and past employment must be verified to ensure accuracy.

In seeking additional information regarding an applicant's past performance beyond what is required in the Hiring Certification, most companies will only offer dates of employment and the job title of the past employee. In order to get more information, it is recommended that you offer to fax a copy of the release form that is signed by the application at the time of submitting the employment application. This will release the organization from any liability, thus increasing the chance that you will receive a candid response.

Included in this packet is an informational guide to background checking, a copy of the hiring certification, the release form, as well as a list of questions to ask when completing the background check.

If you have questions on how to handle a specific situation, call Tim Caskey at 726-6326.


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The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.
Last modified on 11/23/15 01:35 PM
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