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Concerning Faculty Hiring

May 10, 2011, Volume 57, No. 33

To Deans, Department Chairs and Faculty Affairs Coordinators:

I write to notify you of a recent change in law, which might affect the process of hiring faculty and other instructional personnel. The new law, entitled “Fair Criminal Record Screening Standards,” applies to the hiring of all employees at Penn and will be effective on July 12, 2011. You can view the new law at:  http://legislation.phila.gov/attachments/11195.pdf
Under the new legislation, an employer cannot ask a potential employee about criminal arrests or convictions until after a first interview. While criminal background checks are permitted once the interviewing stage has passed, it is not Penn’s current policy to require such background checks for those who teach at Penn. Given the requirements of the new law and our current practices we urge search committees and department chairs to avoid inquiries into prior criminal history.

If you have questions about the new legislation, please contact Lubna Mian in the Office of the Provost (mian@upenn.edu) or Pierce Buller (Pierce.Buller@ogc.upenn.edu) in the Office of General Counsel.

—Lynn Hollen Lees, Vice Provost for Faculty

Related: Can You Ask Job Candidates About Their Criminal Records?

Almanac - May 10, 2011, Volume 57, No. 33