Human Resources
Policies and Procedures Manual

Departmental Responsibility: Office of Human Resources
Topic: Background Checks
Policy: Background Checks
May 13, 2013
Last Revised Date: October 21, 2014

Background Check Policy

Clemson University is committed to hiring qualified employees and to provide a safe and secure work environment for our students, employees, and visitors.


  1. Background Checks and Credit Reports

The Clemson University Office of Human Resources, or a third party provider, will conduct background checks on the following individuals.

A.  The Clemson University Office of Human Resources will conduct a criminal conviction check on all faculty, staff, other unclassified personnel including full time, part time, temporary, intermittent, seasonal and certain student workers (graduate and undergraduate) who are hired or rehired. For a candidate under the age of 18, parental/guardian consent is required before conducting a background check.

B.  Students teaching courses or working with and having independent access to children less than 18 years of age must undergo a criminal conviction check.  A criminal conviction check may be requested on other student employees as determined by the department head. Such requests must be non-discriminatory in nature. 

C.  Criminal conviction checks are also required on individuals doing work for but not paid by Clemson as described below:

  • Individuals Employed by Contractors: Contractors retained through the Clemson University Procurement Office will be required to conduct criminal background checks on their employees who must come to the Clemson University campus or other property in order to fulfill the terms of the agreement between the Contractor and Clemson University.  The background checks conducted for individuals employed by contractors must be consistent with those conducted for University employees.  Please contact the Clemson University Procurement Office with any questions regarding the standard terms and conditions for procurement contracts.
  • Individuals Employed by Temporary Staffing Agencies: Temporary staffing agencies will be required to verify that criminal conviction checks and Sex Offender registry checks have been conducted on all of their employees who work on Clemson University projects or jobs. The background checks conducted for individuals employed by temporary staffing agencies must be consistent with those conducted for University employees.  The verification must be sent to the Office of Human Resources prior to the date the individual begins work on the Clemson University project or job.
  • Volunteers: Departments utilizing volunteers will be required to verify that criminal conviction checks have been conducted on all such volunteers at least two weeks prior to their volunteer service begins. The check must be conducted through the Office of Human Resources.  Departments have the option of asking volunteers to pay for their own background check. For a volunteer under the age of 18, parental/guardian consent is required before conducting a background check.

D.  Other background checks will be conducted in accordance with this policy as needed.

E.  Members of University boards and commissions, excluding those who regularly participate in University-sponsored activities, are exempt from this policy.


   2.  Types of Pre-Employment Checks

  • Criminal Conviction Check: Clemson University can conduct In-state, Other-State and International Criminal Convictions Checks. These reports should provide information on past criminal convictions and may show information regarding pending charges.
  • Motor Vehicle Record Check: Should the position require a valid driver's license with an acceptable driving record as defined by the South Carolina Fleet Safety Program standards, a motor vehicle record's (MVR) check must be conducted through the Office of Human Resources. The department must notify the Office of Human Resources when a position to be filled requires an employee or student employee to drive a vehicle or if a current employee's or student’s job duties are changed to require an employee to drive a vehicle.
  • Student Default Loan Check: SC state law requires that a default student loan check be conducted on all candidates with education beyond high school. The Office of Human Resources is responsible for conducting the default student loan check, i.e., credit check. A credit check will only be conducted when required by law. It is not automatic with the criminal conviction report and it is not an option departments can select. Should the candidate be in default on a student loan, payment must be made with that creditor prior to being offered a position.
  • Drug Testing: State law requires that prior to offering a position that requires a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) or a position that is considered "safety-sensitive", pre-employment drug testing is required of the potential candidate. The candidate must receive negative test results prior to employment. In addition, a two-year prior employment record may be verified to insure no positive test results. For continued employment, employees in such positions will be subject to random drug-alcohol testing. Additionally, reasonable suspicion testing and post-accident testing will be conducted. Should an employee test positive, disciplinary action up to and including termination will be considered.
  • Legal Immigration Status Check: SC state law requires that state agencies verify that individuals they employ are not illegally in the United States. Therefore, the Office of Human Resources must conduct a check of the eVerify system within three days of the individual’s hire date.
  • Sex Offender Registry Check: All prospective faculty, staff, and volunteers will undergo a Sex Offender Registry check.


   3.  General Provisions

A.  Cost: The Office of Human Resources will be responsible for the cost of criminal conviction checks, student loan default checks, and motor vehicle license checks for all individuals hired into state funded full time equivalent (FTE) positions. The cost of any additional checks, requested or required, will be the responsibility of the hiring department.

B.  Quality Control: The Office of Human Resources will determine whether or not an applicant or candidate is eligible for hire based on pre-screening checks completed by the Office of Human Resources and will inform the hiring department. Human Resources will consider a variety of factors (the nature and expected duties of the position, the nature of the conviction, the length of time since the conviction occurred, discrepancies between the results of the background check and what the individual self-disclosed, etc.). A criminal conviction does not necessarily disqualify an individual for employment/volunteer consideration.  Making untrue statements or otherwise failing to report a criminal conviction will disqualify an individual for consideration.  When the results of a background check adversely impacts an individual's eligibility to be employed by Clemson University, the individual will be notified of the decision and given associated information as required by law.

C.  Non-Discrimination: Clemson University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate against any person or group on the basis of age, color, disability, gender, pregnancy, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, veteran status or genetic information.

Confidentiality: All information received by departments in connection with the Pre-employment Screening process should be treated by the hiring departments as confidential and should only be used for purposes of evaluating an applicant for employment. The information must not be distributed to anyone other than as intended by this policy. Any requests made to departments for pre-employment screening information should be immediately referred to the Office of Human Resources.


The language used in this document does not create an employment contract between the employee and the agency. The document does not create any contractual rights or entitlements. The agency reserves the right to revise the content of this document, in whole or in part. No promises or assurances, whether written or oral, which are contrary or inconsistent with the terms of this paragraph create any contract of employment.