4-46: Criminal Background Check – Procedures

1. Procedures for Criminal Background Checks. Santa Fe Community College (SFCC) will conduct criminal background checks on the successful candidate(s) for each faculty and staff position, and all other positions at the college, on former employees who have more than a 180-day break in service, and on every potential new employee or volunteer if their scope of work is similar to a position currently in the College’s pay plan.

Hiring authorities are required to initiate criminal background checks for non-student hourly employees, student workers, interns, volunteers, reclassifications and promotions that involve an individual potentially hired or moving into a position considered security sensitive.
Security sensitive positions are posted along with Policy 4-46 Criminal Background Check on SFCC’s website and may include access to restricted facilities, resources, finances, data, confidential information or research as determined by the hiring authority.

2. Required Notification of Criminal Background Checks. All advertisements, notices, and postings for positions listed as requiring a background check will state, “A background check will be conducted according to the nature of the job.” Successful candidates for these positions will be offered the position contingent on a satisfactory criminal background check. No candidate for a position requiring a background check shall commence employment until a satisfactory criminal background check has been received, except for adjunct faculty, who may be provisionally hired.

For volunteer positions and other positions for which a search was not required, the hiring authority will notify the individual in writing of the criminal history background check requirement prior to offering the position. The candidate must not begin the new responsibilities until satisfactory results are received by the Office of Human Resources unless otherwise approved by HR.

3. Required Authorization for Criminal Background Check. If a search is run through PeopleAdmin and HireRight, the criminal background check is initiated during the hiring proposal process. For hires outside of PeopleAdmin, contact HR at to request a background check on the final candidate(s) and include candidate(s) name; email address; position title/position number; budget number; and job vacancy announcement number. HireRight will contact the candidate(s) via email to initiate the background check. The candidate submits his or her personal information at a secure website and electronically signs the Disclosure to Consent form. Once the candidate has submitted his or her personal information and electronically signs the Disclosure and Consent form, the background check will begin. The third-party consumer reporting agency will provide the background check results to HR. Upon receipt of the information pertaining to the background check, HR determines if the individual meets the criteria for the position and will notify the appropriate personnel.

Costs associated with criminal background checks will be the responsibility of the hiring unit.

4. Contingent Offer of Employment. If circumstances require that a job offer be made quickly to a candidate, prior to the completion of the background investigation, the offer must be in writing and include the statement, “This offer is contingent upon the completion of a satisfactory criminal background investigation.” Although the offer may be made, the employee may not begin work in any capacity, including attending New Employee Orientation without a completed satisfactory background investigation unless otherwise approved by OHR.

Adjunct faculty will be allowed to work as a provisional hire pending a positive outcome on the background check.

If any other employee begins work prior to completion of the background check, OHR will send a notice to the manager notifying them that if the check is not submitted within five (5) business days, the employee will not be able to work and will be placed in a leave-without-pay status until resolved. After fifteen (15) business days of non-compliance with this procedure, the employee will be terminated.

5. Prior Criminal Background Check Qualifies. If the candidate has had a criminal background investigation completed by SFCC within the last 13 months and the results are satisfactory for the position for which s/he is applying, a subsequent investigation may be waived at the discretion of the Executive Director for Human Relations and Professional Development/EEO Officer or his or her designee.

6. Exceptions. Kids Campus, the AARP Foundation, and other National Service Criminal History Check grants will continue to follow their more extensive background check procedure as stated in Policy 4-46 Criminal Background Checks.

7. Results of Criminal Background Checks. If the criminal background check identifies convictions, with the exception of Disqualifying Convictions described in Paragraph 9 below, such a conviction will not automatically disqualify an individual from employment. In the event the background check reveals Criminal Convictions, it will be determined on a case-by-case basis whether the individual is eligible for the position sought based on factors such as:

a. Relevancy to the position
b. Number of offenses
c. Nature of each offense
d. Length of time intervening between the offense and the employment decision
e. Employment history
f. Efforts at rehabilitation, and
g. Accuracy of the information that the individual provided on the consent form.

8. Disqualifying Employment Convictions. For positions involving significant contact with minors, a record of any of the following convictions will result in automatic exclusion of the candidate or termination of a current employee:

i. Conviction of any crime against a child or vulnerable adult (including but not limited to child abuse, abandonment, neglect, or statutory rape);
ii. Conviction of any crime of violence;
iii. Conviction of any crime of a sexual nature, including but not limited to lewd conduct, sexual battery, sexual exploitation, rape, or statutory rape;
iv. Conviction of any crime involving unlawful use or possession of a weapon or firearm;
v. Other convictions, referrals, or registrations that pose an unreasonable risk as identified in NMAC §

9. Communication of Results and Employee Rights

A. Consumer Reporting Agency. Procedures when the report has been provided by a consumer reporting agency (e.g., HireRight).

i) If a determination has been made that a candidate should be excluded, or that adverse action should be taken against a current employee, based on an unsatisfactory criminal background check, HR shall, prior to taking any adverse action against the individual, provide a Pre-Adverse Action Disclosure that (1) notifies the individual in writing of the unsatisfactory result, (2) provides the candidate or employee with a copy of the report, and (3) provides the candidate or employee with a written description of his or her rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
ii) After the adverse action has been taken, HR will provide the candidate with an Adverse Action Notice, which includes (1) the name, address, and phone number of the consumer reporting agency that supplied the report; (2) a statement that the consumer reporting agency that supplied the report did not make the decision regarding the adverse action and cannot provide the reasons for the adverse action; and (3) a notice of the individual’s right to dispute the accuracy or completeness of any information the agency has furnished, and his or her right to an additional free consumer report from the agency upon request within 60 days.
iii) A candidate or employee who has received an initial unsatisfactory result and who has sought correction of his or her report under the Fair Credit Reporting Act is not eligible for a listed position until the Executive Director for Human Resources or designee has confirmed the correction and determined that the result is satisfactory. The College has no obligation to hold a position open to allow a candidate or employee to correct his or her report.
iv) In the event of an unsatisfactory background check, the FCRA has additional requirements:

a. A notice that includes a copy of the consumer report SFCC relied on to make the decision
b. A copy of “A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.”


10. Government Reporting Agency. Procedures when the report has been provided by a governmental agency (e.g., New Mexico State Police) are as follows:

i) If a decision has been made to exclude a candidate, or initiate action against a current employee, based on an unsatisfactory background check, HR shall:

1) notify the individual in writing of the unsatisfactory result, and
2) provide the candidate or employee with a copy of the report.

11. Record Keeping. Criminal history information collected under this policy shall be kept electronically with the third party vendor. The information will be used solely for the purpose of maintaining the safety and security of the SFCC community and will be disclosed only as permitted or required by law.


Yash Morimoto, Ph.D., Vice President for Strategy and Organizational Effectiveness,, 505-428-1765.

Donna Castro, Chief Human Resources Officer
, 505-428-1019

Updated: 8/23/17