Minnesota Department of Transportation

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MnDOT Policies

Background Checks

MnDOT Policy #WF017
Effective: September 11, 2021

View/print signed policy (PDF)

Please go to the MnDOT Org Chart to find specific contact information: Org Chart.

Responsible Senior Officer: Deputy Commissioner/Chief Administrative Officer
Policy Owner: Director, Office of Human Resources
Policy Contact: Labor Relations Manager, Office of Human Resources

Policy statement

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) must comply with the statewide policy, Background Checks, HR/LR Policy #1421, which is incorporated by reference.

To enhance the quality of the hiring process in accordance with Minnesota Statute and Rule requirements, MnDOT will conduct background checks that are job related and consistent with business necessity.  The review of an individual’s background is for the purpose of determining suitability for hire.

The Office of Human Resources determines the background checks required for each position, which may include criminal history checks, verification of job application information, verification of education (including job-required licenses and certificates), and employment records and reference checks.

Additional background checks, based on job necessity, may include any or all of the following:

  1. Driver’s license and record review in accordance with MnDOT’s Driver’s License and Record Review policy;
  2. Controlled substance testing in accordance with the State of Minnesota Drug and Alcohol Testing Plan, HR/LR Policy and Procedure #1418A;
  3. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse check in accordance with Federal 49CRF; and/or
  4. Pre-employment physical exam in accordance with MnDOT’s Pre-Employment Physical Exam policy.

Prior to conducting a background check of any kind, MnDOT must obtain a signed authorization from the applicant(s) or finalist(s) consenting to the background check. Offers of employment prior to completion of the background check must be made contingent on the successful completion of the background check.

Failure to provide accurate information and/or pass the background check may result in removal from consideration.

Reason for policy

Minnesota Rule part 3900.7500 requires MnDOT to verify all job-related information on all prospective civil service positions.

Minnesota Management and Budget’s statewide policy requires agencies conducting background checks to implement an effective background check system to ensure employee selection decisions are supported by lawful and thorough background research. The statewide policy requires that agencies that conduct background checks, other than employment reference checks, employment records checks, driver’s license checks, or verifications of job qualifications, have a policy covering the following:

  1. A statement indicating why background checks are being conducted;
  2. The agency division/unit responsible for administering and enforcing the background check policy; and,
  3. The process that will be used to ensure that all background checks are job-related and consistent with business necessity and that the background check data is analyzed and evaluated in compliance with all applicable laws, rules, policies, etc.

Minnesota Statutes §364.021(a) states that a public or private employer may not inquire into or consider or require disclosure of the criminal record or criminal history of an applicant for employment until the applicant has been selected for interview by the employer or, if there is not an interview, before a conditional offer of employment is made to the applicant.

Minnesota Statutes §364.03, subd. 2 states that in determining if a conviction of a crime or crimes directly relates to the position of public employment sought, the hiring authority shall consider:

  1. the nature and seriousness of the crime or crimes for which the individual was convicted;
  2. the relationship of the crime or crimes to the purposes of regulating the position of public employment sought;
  3. the relationship of the crime or crimes to the ability, capacity, and fitness required to the perform the duties and discharge the responsibilities of the position of employment.

Minnesota Statutes §364.03, subd. 3 states that a person who has been convicted of a crime or crimes which directly relate to the public employment sought shall not be disqualified from the employment if the person can show competent evidence of sufficient rehabilitation and present fitness to perform the duties of the public employment sought.

This policy exists to ensure selection decisions are supported by thorough, job-related background checks in accordance with applicable laws, statutes, rules, and statewide policies, thereby increasing the quality of employee selection and decreasing the risk of unsuitable hiring and assignment decisions.

Applicability

All MnDOT employees must comply with MnDOT policies.
Key stakeholders with responsibilities under this policy include:

  • Applicants and Finalists
  • Hiring Managers/Supervisors
  • Office of Human Resources

Definitions

Applicant

Any person applying for a position of employment with MnDOT who is new to MnDOT, returning to state government, or a current employee in state government including a current MnDOT employee.

Background Check

A review of an applicant’s background history for the purpose of determining suitability for a position, including, but not limited to, employment records, criminal records, driver’s license records, education records, and/or other applicable records.

Contingent Job Offer

An offer of employment that is conditional based on successful completion of specific job requirements.

Contracted Vendor

A third party contracted by the State of Minnesota to conduct some or all portions of the background check.  

Conviction of Crime or Crimes

Any of the following accepted and recorded by the court: A plea of guilty or a verdict of guilty by a jury or a finding of guilty by the court. This definition shall be limited to convictions of felonies, gross misdemeanors, and misdemeanors for which a jail sentence may be imposed, whether served or not. No other criminal conviction shall be considered.

Competent Evidence of Sufficient Rehabilitation

Includes, but is not limited to, copies of local, state, or federal release orders and evidence showing at least one (1) year has elapsed since release from any local, state, or federal correctional institution without subsequent conviction of a crime and evidence showing compliance with all terms and conditions of parole or probation, or a copy of relevant Department of Corrections discharge order(s) or other documents showing completion of probation or parole supervision (M.S. §364.03, Subd 3).

Employment Records Check

A type of background check that involves obtaining and reviewing a copy of an applicant’s relevant files from previous employment (e.g. personnel, disciplinary).

Felony

A crime for which a sentence of imprisonment for more than one (1) year may be imposed.

Finalist(s)

The person or persons under final consideration in the selection process.

Gross Misdemeanor

Any crime which is not a felony or misdemeanor. The maximum fine which may be imposed for a gross misdemeanor is $3,000, and the maximum sentence that may be imposed is one year. MnDOT will only consider gross misdemeanor convictions for which a jail sentence may be imposed, whether imposed or not. Gross misdemeanor convictions for which only a fine may be imposed shall not be considered.

License

A license includes, but is not limited to, permits, certificates, registrations, or other means required to engage in an occupation which are granted or issued by the State of Minnesota, its agents, or political subdivisions before a person can pursue, practice, or engage in any occupation.

Misdemeanor

Any crime which is not a felony or gross misdemeanor and for which a sentence of not more than 90 days or a fine of not more than $1,000, or both, may be imposed. MnDOT will only consider misdemeanor convictions for which a jail sentence may be imposed, whether imposed or not. Misdemeanor convictions for which only a fine may be imposed shall not be considered.

Reference Check

An inquiry made to a previous employer and/or other sources about an applicant’s work history, work performance, competencies, and disciplinary history.

Responsibilities

Applicants and Finalists

  • Accurately complete application and supporting materials.
  • Accurately complete and sign release forms and participate in the background check.

Hiring Manager/Supervisor

  • Prior to the position being posted, consult with Human Resources (HR) to review and update the position description.
  • Provide the HR staffing representative with the name of the finalist selected to initiate the background check process.
  • Consult with HR to determine who will conduct each type of background check.

Human Resources (Districts and Central Office)

  • Determine the appropriate types of background checks that will be required based on the position duties; consult with the Hiring Manager/Supervisor, as needed.
  • Ensure that job announcements identify the required qualifications and types of background checks that may be conducted.
  • Ensure proper consent forms are obtained and submit information to the contracted vendor, if applicable.
  • Complete background checks. 
  • The HR Director or their designee determines whether an applicant or finalist may be removed from consideration based on the outcomes of the background checks conducted and consults with and/or inform the Hiring Manager/Supervisor, as appropriate.
  • Follow the EEOC guidance and the MN Department of Human Rights Technical Guidance 364.021 about taking an adverse action and notifying applicants or finalists who are removed from consideration based on the outcomes of the background checks conducted.
  • Ensure forms and data associated with background checks are retained in accordance with the Record Retention Schedule and Minnesota Statutes §138.17, subd. 7.

Policy Owner (Director, Office of Human Resources)

  • Review the policy every two years, and whenever MMB makes changes to the statewide policy, to ensure the policy remains up-to-date.
  • Ensure documents and training associated with the policy remain current.
  • Work with the Policy Coordinator to revise the policy and/or confirm its accuracy.
  • Communicate policy revisions, reviews, and retirements to stakeholders.

Resources

History and updates

Adopted

September 11, 2021

Superseded

  • Policy #3.13: MnDOT Criminal Background Check Policy
    • Effective: November 21, 1995
    • Revised: September 26, 2000
  • Guideline #3.13-G-1: Criminal Background Check Guidelines
    • Effective: November 21, 1995
    • Revised: September 26, 2000
  • Policy #3.10: Verifying Job Application Information and Conducting Reference Checks Policy
    • Effective: March 21, 2000
  • Guideline #3.10-G-1: Verifying Job Application Information and Conducting Reference Checks Guidelines
    • Effective: March 21, 2000

Policy Review

This policy's next scheduled review is due September 2023.