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College Policy Number/Title:

Requirement for References and/or Background Investigations

When references and/or background investigations are required for applicants or current employees, meeting these requirements will be a condition of employment.

Inquiries for Current and Former Employees

All inquiries made by outside parties such as potential employers and financial institutions with regard to the employment history of present or former employees will be directed to the office of human resources for response. Information should be released only through the office of human resources.  The office of human resources will provide dates of employment, job title and verification of salary if the employee has provided a signed consent form requesting and authorizing the release of information. Additional information may be provided by a supervisor or colleague provided that the reference is approved by the office of human resources and that the present or former employee has issued an additional signed waiver form requesting and authorizing the release of additional information.  Written references will be released only through the office of human resources and copies of such references will be kept in the present or former employee's file.

References for Employment Applicants

Full-time Faculty, Full-time and Part-time Budgeted/Position Control Employees

The college reserves the right to require up to three or more reference checks to be completed by a hiring supervisor prior to an employee starting work at Howard Community College.  At least one of these must be an external professional reference.   If reference checks and/or background checks have been conducted within the past six months, and the employee is starting a new job, new reference and background checks may not be required prior to the start of the new job.

Adjunct Faculty and Hourly/Temporary Employees

The college requires one external professional reference check to be completed by a hiring supervisor prior to an employee starting work at Howard Community College in an adjunct faculty and/or hourly/temporary capacity.  An exception can be made for work-study students not working with children.

Background Investigations for Current and Prospective Employees


A pre-employment or post-employment investigation of a candidate’s or employee’s background serves as an important part of the selection process.  There are several purposes for background investigations:  (1) to promote a safe environment for students and employees; (2) to protect organizational assets including people, property and information; and (3) to enable the college to make prudent hiring decisions based upon comprehensive job-related information. 


Background investigations may include some or all of the following:  (1) reference checks of former employers or other reliable references; (2) criminal background investigations by college authorities or an outside service provider including local and national searches depending on the requirements of the position and state and federal law;* (3) credit reports when handling money and finances are involved in the job – however, credit history checks will not be included unless approved by the president or area vice president; and (4) drug testing when required by law or when authorized by the president or area vice president. 

When background investigations are required as a condition of employment, applicants or current employees will be required to complete and sign certain consent documents.  Such consent is also a condition of employment. 

Covered Employees and Candidates

The college retains the right and authority to conduct background investigations concerning all current employees or job candidates.


Reports received as part of the background investigation process will be maintained as part of the recruitment records for job candidates and employment records for employees. 


Decisions on hiring a candidate or retaining an employee, based on results of background investigations where there may be negative information, will be made by the area vice presidents or the president in consultation with human resources.  The decision(s) will be based on an assessment of the risks to college students and employees related to the information contained in the report.  

Duty to Report Convictions for Current Employees

In accordance with Federal laws and College Policy on the drug-free campus (63.11), all current employees who are convicted of violating a criminal drug statute (both misdemeanors and felonies), must report their convictions to their immediate supervisor or to the office of human resources within five (5) days of the conviction.  Additionally, all employees must report any convictions related to child molestation, indecency with a minor, or other sexual offenses.

In addition, employees whose duties involve the operation of college heavy machinery equipment and vehicles, life safety, public safety, and similar critical responsibilities must report within five (5) days any convictions for alcohol related and serious motor vehicle violations (including but not limited to DWI/DUI, reckless driving, evading arrest, hit-and-run, etc.).  The report must be made to either the employee’s immediate supervisor or the office of human resources. 

Campus Crime Reports and Registered Sex Offender Information

In accordance with college procedure 63.06.09 “Campus crime reports and registered sex offender information and policy”, the college will not hire any convicted sex offender.

*For example, Maryland State Law requires that all child care workers or any employees who work alone with children or have access to children be fingerprinted and have FBI background checks.

Effective Date:  2/10/2006