Sexual Misconduct Background Checks
Beginning July 1, 2021, per Washington State law, no offer of employment can be made until a sexual misconduct background check is completed for all temporary and permanent faculty, staff, and graduate assistants. This background check is only required for candidates who currently work or have previously worked at a postsecondary educational institution.
This requirement applies to new hires and rehires only. It does not apply to current WWU employees.
All new permanent and temporary employees are required to have a criminal background check in addition to the sexual misconduct check completed by HR as part of their hiring process. Graduate students may also have a criminal background check completed if requested by their department.
Sexual Misconduct Background Check Process
The sexual misconduct background check is a two-step process.
- The candidate completes the Sexual Misconduct Declaration & Release Authorization
- Western submits sexual misconduct disclosure requests to candidate's current and former postsecondary institution employers
1) Candidate Sexual Misconduct Declaration & Release Authorization
Western is required to request that candidates sign a statement disclosing the following:
• Is the candidate the subject of any substantiated findings of sexual misconduct in any current or former employment, or by any association with which they have, or have had, a professional relationship.
• Is the candidate currently being investigated for sexual misconduct
• Has the candidate left a position during an investigation into a violation of any sexual misconduct policy at the their current or former employers
The signed statement authorizes candidates' current and former employers and professional associations to disclose to Western any sexual misconduct and make available copies of all personnel, investigative, or other files related to the sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment.
2) Sexual Misconduct Disclosure Request
Western is required to submit a written sexual misconduct disclosure request to candidates' postsecondary educational institution employers to verify misconduct history. This process can take up to 5 business days to complete.
The sexual misconduct background check will be completed before the Request to Offer is approved.
Contact HR.Disclosure@wwu.edu to initiate the sexual misconduct background check. We require the candidate's name and email address to send them the Sexual Misconduct Declaration & Authorization Release.
Important Note: if you will be using a Personnel Action (PA) form to hire a candidate who applied through a temporary pool, please email HR.Disclosure@wwu.edu to initiate the sexual misconduct background check.
Submit the PA after you receive approval to make the official offer. Include the approval date on the PA.
Hiring Student Employees into Temporary Positions
If you would like to hire a former student employee into a temporary position, a sexual misconduct background check may be required.
- Undergraduate student employees always require the sexual misconduct background check.
- Graduate student employees may require the sexual misconduct background check.
Sexual Misconduct Background Check FAQs
Candidate has current or prior postsecondary educational institution employment: 5-7 business days
Candidate does not have current or prior postsecondary educational institution employment: 1-2 business days
No, the sexual misconduct background check is only required for new hires and rehires.
Yes, the background check is required. You can contact HR.Disclosure@wwu.edu to start the process. You will need to provide the student’s name, W#, and email address.
Yes, if a student employee moves into a temporary, permanent, or graduate assistant position, the sexual misconduct background check is required.
Yes, if an undergraduate student employee moves into a temporary, permanent, or graduate assistant position, the sexual misconduct background check is required.
If any Western employee is contacted to provide a job reference for a current or former employee, Western is required to disclose any information related to findings of misconduct, even if the requestor does not ask for this information.
If you are contacted to provide a reference, complete the Reference Request Notification form. You do not need to wait for Human Resources approval before providing the reference. This requirement does not apply to undergraduate student employees.
Reference Request FAQs
No, you only need to notify Human Resources when you provide a reference for permanent and temporary, faculty, staff, and graduate student employees.
No, you do not need to notify us when you provide references for internal references. The reporting requirement applies to references provided to non-WWU employers only.
No, this requirement applies only to employment-related references. However, if the graduate school contacts you to provide a reference specifically for a teaching assistant position, you would need to notify Human Resources.
We recommend using the following language to explain your reporting requirement:
"A new Washington State law requires Western Washington University to disclose an employee's sexual misconduct history to potential employers conducting background and reference checks. This disclosure is required, even if the potential employer does not ask for this information. If I am contacted by an employer to give a reference for you, I am obligated to notify Human Resources. If you have any questions about this requirement, you can reach out to their office."
You do not need to disclose any information you may have about an employee's sexual misconduct history. Human Resources will communicate this information to the potential employer as appropriate.
General references and letters of support are not subject to this requirement. The reporting requirement applies to employer-specific references only.
A reference is a (verbal or written) conversation about a job candidate that occurs between an employer and the reference provider.
A recommendation is typically a written letter that lends support to a candidate's application. It typically does not involve direct correspondence between the writer and the employer. You do not need to notify human resources about letters of recommendation unless the employer contacts you for additional information.