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Sample Internal Policy Memo

November 07, 2013

(c)Lester S. Rosen, 2001

The following is a sample Internal Policies and Procedures Memorandum for the Human Resources or Security departments. The following language can be modified as appropriate. Because no manual applies to all businesses or all situations, this language is intended only as a general suggestion. Where there are alternatives available or decisions to be made, there is a footnote within a bracket.

Internal Policies and Procedures Memorandum

Policy Statement

To ensure that individuals who join this firm are well qualified and have a strong potential to be productive and successful, and to further ensure that this firm maintains a safe and productive work environment that is free of any form of violence, harassment or misconduct, it is the policy of this company to perform pre-employment screening and credentials verification on applicants who are offered and accept an offer of employment. A pre-employment background check is a sound business practice that benefits everyone. It is not a reflection on a particular job applicant.

Therefore, offers of employment are conditioned upon the firm's receipt of a pre-employment background screening investigation that is acceptable to the firm at the firm's sole discretion.

All pre-employment background screenings are conducted by a third party to ensure privacy. All screenings are conducted in strict conformity with the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and state and federal anti-discrimination and privacy laws. All reports are kept strictly confidential, and are only viewed by individuals in this firm who have direct responsibility in the hiring process. All screening reports are kept and maintained separately from employee personnel files. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), all background screenings are done only after a person has received a disclosure and has signed a release.

I. Supervision of Program

1. The Pre-employment background-screening program will be coordinated by (Human Resources) (Security), hereinafter refereed to as the Program Administrator.

2. All screening will be conducted through a third party Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA).

3. The Program Administrator will :

a. Administer and coordinate the pre-employment screening program.

b. Approve all forms utilized in the process and to ensure that all forms are utilized consistently.

c. Submit names and background requests to the CRA.

d. Receive reports from the CRA;

e. Contact the CRA as necessary to review the report or receive additional information.

f. Review all reports, and in the case of negative or derogatory information, take appropriate action by contacting the hiring manger.

g. Ensure that in the event that an adverse decision is intended, that the firm will take appropriate measures under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. That includes providing an applicant with a copy of the Consumer Report and statement of their rights prior to the adverse action. If the adverse action is final, the Program Administrator shall also cause a second notice required by the FCRA to be sent. The Program Administrator may delegate these duties to the CRA.

h. Where an exception is made to hire an applicant despite negative or derogatory information, to ensure that the file properly documents the reasons for the decision.

i. Maintain the background reports in complete privacy and confidence, and to ensure that only individuals with hiring authority are made aware of the contents of the report and to further ensure that all reports are only ordered and utilized for screening purposes.

j. To supervise the storage of all release forms and screening reports in a secure area, separate from employee personnel files.

k. Select a CRA to perform pre-employment screening services, and to approve all billing submitted by the CRA.

l. Ensure that the program is administered uniformly and consistently, and in compliance with all applicable laws, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act, state and federal discrimination laws, and laws regulating the gathering and use of information in the employment process.

m. No information shall be requested, obtained or utilized that would be in violation of any state or federal law, rule or regulation.

n. To perform such other task and duties in order to carry out the aims and purposes of the pre-employment screening policy.

II. Mechanics of Program

1. All applications for employment will contain approved forms for pre-employment screening that all applicants must sign and date when applications are returned (OR) Prior to a candidate being selected as a finalist or being offered employed, the candidate shall sign approved forms necessary for pre-employment background screening

2. The forms, along with any application or resume shall be transmitted to the CRA by the Program Administrator.

3. All offers of employment are conditioned upon receipt of a background report that is satisfactory to the firm. In a situation where an offer is made prior to the receipt of the background report, the offer letter shall state (in writing) that:

"This offer of employment is conditioned upon the employer's receipt of a Pre-employment background screening investigation that is acceptable to the employer at the employer's sole discretion."

4. No employment will commence prior to the completion of the background report unless the Program Administrator and department head/Vice-President determines that there is an exceptional circumstance. In that case, the employment will be conditioned on a satisfactory report, as indicated above.

5. Where a background report is returned with derogatory or potentially negative information that would reasonably impact a hiring decision, the Program Administrator will contact the hiring manger or other appropriate person to review the information. The Program Administrator will normally provide a verbal summary rather then the actual written report, in order to limit confidential material from circulating within the company.

6. If the information will form the basis of an adverse action or termination, the Program Administrator will document the basis of the decision, including specifically the job-related basis for the adverse action or termination.

7. In the event of an intended adverse action or termination, the Program Administrator will also initiate the adverse action notification procedures set forth above required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

8. If the hiring manager believes that the negative information should not preclude employment or promotion, the hiring manger will seek approval from their respective department head/Vice-President who will decide the issue in consultation with the Program Administrator and legal counsel if appropriate. If the decision is to offer the position, the rational for the exception shall be appropriately documented in writing and provided to the Program Administrator.

III. Standards for screening

1. The Program Administrator shall determine for each position, in consultation as necessary with the hiring manager, what level of pre-employment screening is required, taking into account among other factors:

  • The nature of the position, including duties and responsibilities
  • Does the position have access to money or assets
  • Does the position carry significant authority, or fiduciary responsibility
  • Does the position have access to members of the public or co-workers so that any propensity to violence would cause harm
  • Would the position be difficult to replace (in terms of recruitment, hiring and training)
  • Would a falsification of skills, experience or background put the firm at risk, or lower the firms productivity
  • Would a bad hire expose the firm to litigation or financial claims from the applicant, co-workers, customers or the public.

2. The Program Administrator will designate whether each position shall be screened at one of five levels. Additional screening may be requested by a hiring manger or the Program Administrator as necessary for a particular position. The levels are:

Individual--For casual or temporary labor. Recommended Search: County criminal search in local county or county of residence and other individual reports as necessary (such as a social security trace or driving record).

Basic--For entry level employees, retail or manufacturing or positions where the employer has internally checked references and education: Recommended search: A full seven year on-site criminal records check for felonies and misdemeanor, Credit Report or Social Security and Identity check and driver's license check.

Standard--For more responsible positions and permanent hire: Recommended search: The Basic search above plus verification of the last three employers (and references if available) and highest post high school education.

Extended--For positions involving increasing responsibility or supervision of others. Recommended search: The Basic and Standard above, plus checking Superior Court civil cases in last two relevant counties for litigation matters that may be job related.

The IntegrityCheck--A ten year check for any type of position with significant responsibility, or access to cash or assets, includes everything above for ten years plus: federal court for criminal and civil cases, employment history, verification of all college degrees and professional licenses, and a check of civil lawsuits in last two county level superior courts.

3. All screenings will be done consistently and uniformly. Once it has been determined that a particular position requires a particular level of pre-employment screening, all finalists for that particular position will be screened at the same level.

IV. Analysis of Information

1. In the event the derogatory or potentially information is found as a result of a pre-employment screening report, the Program Administrator will immediately notify the hiring manger or other appropriate party with management or hiring authority.

2. The following is a general guideline as to what information is considered potentially negative or derogatory. This list is not intended to be exhaustive or exclusive, and other matters may be considered as is appropriate for the position under consideration.

a. The applicant or employee seeking hiring or promotion is found to have engaged in dishonest, misleading or untruthful conduct, including but not limited to misrepresentations or omission of material facts during the selection process.

b. The applicant or employee seeking hiring or promotion is found to have engaged in violent or conduct inappropriate in the workplace.

c. The applicant is found to not have the necessary skills, experience, abilities, aptitude or qualifications to successfully fulfil the job requirements.

d. The applicant or employee has been convicted of any felony or a serious misdemeanor that may be legally considered in the hiring process that may precludes an applicant from effectively performing their job duties, or may create a security or safety issue in the workplace. It is this firm's policy that a criminal conviction does not automatically preclude a person from being hired. In the event that the firm confirms that the application has a criminal record, the hiring decision will be based upon a careful consideration of the nature of the position in question, the nature and gravity of the offense, the amount of time that has passed since the conviction and whether there is a business justification for not hiring the applicant.

The firm has as strong commitment to maintaining a safe working environment for the benefit of everyone. Criminal convictions for a felony or misdemeanor offense involving acts of violence, theft or dishonesty, weapons or moral turpitude, are likely to adversely affect the workplace. In addition, being on active probation or parole is also likely to affect job performance and the workplace. For these reasons, the firm will closely scrutinize the application of any candidate with such a criminal conviction, or who is currently on probation or parole, consistent with the firm's policy of not automatically excluding any applicant for a criminal record.

Where the criminal record makes the applicant unable or ineligible to perform the essential job functions or creates a potential legal liability for the firm, such as an applicant who must drive a vehicle as part of their job responsibilities and does not have a valid license, or a clear driving record.

Please feel free to contact ESR if we can provide any additional information that may be of assistance.

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