2.03 Background Verification Policy

Policy No. 2.03

Policy: Berklee (“Berklee”) is committed to providing a safe and secure environment for its students, faculty, and staff in support of its educational mission. In order to help achieve that goal and in compliance with Massachusetts state law, Berklee requires all employees to consent to a background verification. 

Process and Procedures

Berklee requires all employees to consent to a background verification as a condition of employment. This policy applies to all new employees and current employees every three years during the individual’s continuing relationship with Berklee. Typical components of a background verification may include, but are not limited to, a Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) check, Sex Offender Registry Information check (SORI), national criminal search, and Social Security check. The background verification may be conducted with the assistance of a consumer reporting agency in all jurisdictions where the candidate has resided for a minimum of the last seven years. Berklee will follow the procedures mandated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) when using a consumer reporting agency to perform the background verifications. In certain situations, an employment verification may also be required.   

Where criminal history checks may be a part of a background verification for employment, volunteer work, vendor engagement, or other relationships or positions with the institution, the following procedures will apply:

  • Criminal background checks (CORI) will be conducted as authorized by the Massachusetts Department of Criminal Justice Information Systems (DCJIS). All applicants will be notified that a criminal history check will be conducted and sign an acknowledgment form. If requested, the applicant will be provided with a copy of the background verification policy. 
  • All criminal background checks obtained directly from the DCJIS or a consumer reporting agency are confidential. Access to the information will be limited to Berklee employees who have a compelling and justifiable reason to know. Berklee will maintain a current list of each employee authorized to have access to criminal background checks. This list will be updated on a regular basis and is subject to inspection upon written request by the DCJIS at any time. 
  • An informed review of a criminal record requires adequate training. Accordingly, all Berklee employees authorized to review and make decisions in consideration of background checks will be thoroughly familiar with the materials made available by DCJIS. 
  • If an individual does not currently reside in Massachusetts, has recently moved, or has worked outside of Massachusetts, a criminal background check will be conducted by a designated 
consumer reporting agency for review by Berklee. 
  • Unless otherwise provided by law, a criminal record will not automatically disqualify an individual from consideration of employment at Berklee. Determinations of suitability of employment based on the criminal background checks will be made consistent with this policy or any applicable law or regulations.
  • If an individual refuses to provide or revokes their consent for Berklee to obtain and review the criminal background check, they will be considered by the institution to have an unsatisfactory check and will be ineligible for initial or continuing employment, volunteer service, vendor engagement, or any other assignment or activity with Berklee, as determined by Berklee.
  • If a criminal record is received from the DCJIS or consumer reporting agency, the authorized Berklee employee(s) will closely compare the record provided by the DCJIS or consumer reporting agency with the information on the request form and any other identifying information provided by the individual to ensure the record corresponds to the individual.
  • An offer of employment, volunteer assignment, vendor engagement, or other assignment or activity with Berklee that is extended to an individual prior to the instituition receiving the results of a background check on that individual shall contain the following language:
 "This offer is contingent upon references and the successful completion of your background verification.” 
  • If Berklee determines the potential for an adverse decision based on the results received from the consumer reporting agency, DCJIS, and/or sex offender registry, the individual will be notified in a timely manner, prior to questioning the individual and taking adverse action. The individual will be provided a copy of the institution’s background verification policy and a copy of the criminal history record. The source of the criminal history record will be disclosed to the person.
  • The individual will have an opportunity to dispute the accuracy of the information on the criminal history record. The individual will be provided a copy of DCJIS information concerning the process for correcting a criminal record and/or work with appropriate authorities to attempt to resolve the disputed information, but will not be considered for employment by Berklee until satisfactory results are obtained by a new criminal background check and reviewed and accepted by Berklee. 
  • Once Berklee verifies that the information in the background check is accurate and matches the individual being investigated, Berklee will make the determination of suitability for the position. Unless otherwise provided by law, factors considered in determining suitability of the individual for employment, volunteer assignment, vendor engagement, or any other assignment or activity with Berklee may include, but are not limited to, the following:
  1. Relevance of the crime(s) to the position sought
  2. Nature of the work to be performed
  3. Time since the conviction
  4. Age of the individual at the time of the offense
  5. Number of offenses
  6. Seriousness and specific circumstances of the offense(s)
  7. Existence of pending charges against the individual
  8. Any relevant evidence of rehabilitation, or lack thereof
  9. Any other relevant information, including that submitted by the individual or requested by Berklee by way of criminal background check

Records received by Berklee will be maintained on a confidential basis. To ensure the maximum degree of protection for the individual’s privacy, all records at Berklee related to background checks will be maintained in a secure and restricted location separate from employee personnel records. This includes any CORI checks obtained from the DCJIS.  

Berklee reserves the right to amend, suspend, or cancel this policy at any time, with or without notice. In the event that a conflict exists between this policy and the terms and conditions of the Berklee faculty union contract agreement, the union contract agreement will supersede this policy.


December 2018