Policy on Background Checks for Contractors and Vendors

Policy Number: 608

Safety and Security

The permanent link for this policy is: https://policies.northeastern.edu/policy608/

I. Purpose and Scope


The university is committed to fostering a safe environment for all individuals who come onto anyone of our campuses or facilities.  

To further this commitment, the University requires all contractors and vendors to perform a background check on any individual that will be assigned to work at certain designated locations, including residence halls, athletic facilities with locker rooms or showers, swimming pools, daycare or elementary schools, student health or counseling centers, or areas where programs with minors regularly occur. 

II. Definitions


A. Contractor or Vendor

For the purpose of this policy, any company or business hired to perform work or services on university buildings, property or facilities. Businesses covered by this policy include but are not limited to those providing facilities and Information Technology services, including cleaning, painting, computer cabling, HVAC, electrical and plumbing, as well other construction services, property management, and security. 

B. Covered University Facilities

Generally, these are locations on campus where children are regularly present, where individuals reside, or where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy. Specifically, this includes residence halls, athletic facilities with locker rooms or showers, swimming pools, daycare or elementary schools, student health or counseling centers, or areas where programs with minors regularly occur. Other locations may be designated as Covered University Facilities as appropriate, when necessary to protect persons at risk, or as required by law.

III. Policy


A. University Certification Requirements


1.  Contractors must perform a current background check on any individual who will be assigned to work at Covered University Facilities. At a minimum, this will include a criminal record check at the national level and state level in any jurisdiction where the individual has resided in the past seven years, and a review of the National Sex Offender Registry.    

2. A background check will be considered current if it was conducted within the twelve months prior to the individual being assigned to campus.

3. It is the Contractor’s responsibility to make a determination of suitability, based upon a review of the information contained in the individual’s background check. The relevancy of a criminal conviction is to be determined on an individual case-by-case basis, and in accordance with the law of the jurisdiction where the work will be performed.

4. An individual will be considered presumptively disqualified if the individual’s criminal background check contains any of the following:

a. First and second degree murder or its equivalent;

b. Crimes involving child abuse or neglect;

c. Crimes against children, such as child pornography;

d. Spousal abuse;

e. Crimes involving rape or sexual assault;

f. Kidnapping;

g. Physical assault or battery;

h. Arson;

i. A violent misdemeanor committed as an adult or juvenile against a child, including, but not limited to the following crimes: child abuse, child endangerment, sexual assault, or of a misdemeanor involving child pornography; or

j. Sex offender designation.

Additionally, where mandatory disqualification is imposed by law, the university will also impose mandatory disqualification, including but not limited to Massachusetts (Mandatory Disqualification List) and California (Mandatory Disqualification List).

5. It is the Contractor’s responsibility to ensure that background checks are conducted in accordance with the relevant law of the jurisdiction in which the work will be performed.  Where such law is in conflict with this policy, such law takes precedence.

B. Vendor Certification Requirements

1.  Contractors and vendors are required to sign a certification attesting to their understanding and compliance with this policy. The certification by the contractor shall state that all personnel assigned or engaged to work in any Covered University Facilities, including those who may be hired at a later date, will have a current background check and that the contractor will review the results and make a determination of suitability.  

 2.  Contractors/vendors shall sign the required certification under penalties of perjury, verifying compliance with the policy when they sign or renew a contract with the university. 

C. Record Keeping Requirements

1. Contractors and vendors are required to maintain and keep current an accurate list of the names of individuals assigned or engaged by the contractor to perform work on campus, and to promptly provide the list to University officials upon request.  

2. The university’s Audit and Advisory Services may from time to time audit compliance with this and other university policies.

IV. Additional Information


Failure to comply with this policy will constitute breach of the contractor/vendor’s contract with the university and may result in sanctions against the contractor/vendor up to and including termination as a university contractor/vendor. 

V. Contact Information

Facilities Customer Service Center: 617-373-2700

Facilities Procurement & Contracts Manager: 617-373-2700

Procurement Services: 617-373- 2135 

Responsible Office/Department(s)


Procurement Services

Related Procedures



Facilities Division “Criminal Background Checks: Policy for Contractors/Vendors”


Background Checks; Contractors; Vendors; Construction Services; Property Management

Version History

Last Revision Date: January 13, 2023

Issued: December 15, 2017