Criminal History Background Checks
Effective November 28, 2017 the commonwealth’s new supplier of digital fingerprint and electronic federal criminal background check services will be IDEMIA (formerly MorphoTrust USA, LLC). PA SafeCheck is the name of the background check system that will be used by IDEMIA to process applicant digital fingerprinting background checks for the commonwealth. Due to the transition to the new provider, fingerprint services for employment are delayed from November 18-28. Once the transition is complete, applicants will be able to experience an easier to use, more efficient, process.
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Peake v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, et al., 216 M.D. 2015
The Commonwealth Court held in Peake v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that it is unconstitutional for the offenses listed in the Older Protective Services Act to result in a lifetime employment ban without further evaluation. Although Background Checks are still required, it is recommended that a facility perform an individualized risk assessment on a case by case basis and consult with their respective counsel regarding employment.
Response to Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania’s decision in Peake v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, et al., 216 M.D. 2015
The following is an updated response to the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania’s decision in Peake v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, et al., 216 M.D. 2015:
On December 30, 2015, the Commonwealth Court held in Peake v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, et al., 216 M.D. 2015, that the “lifetime employment ban” contained in Section 503(a) of the Older Adults Protective Services Act (“OAPSA”), 35 P.S. §10225.503(a), violates due process guarantees under the Pennsylvania Constitution and is therefore not enforceable. The Court also held that the Department of Aging’s (“Department”) previously posted “Interim Policy” (pertaining to the employment of individuals with certain criminal convictions caring for older adults) is invalid.
After evaluation and in consultation with the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, the Commonwealth has decided not to appeal the Court’s order. The Department anticipates legislative action regarding OAPSA.
Please note that criminal history background checks are still required for all applicants.
The Department recommends that facilities subject to OAPSA requirements consult with an attorney prior to making an employment decision to ensure compliance with the Commonwealth Court’s guidance regarding exercising hiring discretion on a case-by-case basis. This guidance focused on the consideration of factors such as the nature of the crime; facts surrounding the conviction; time elapsed since the conviction; the evidence of the individual’s rehabilitation; the nature and requirements of the job and the performance of individualized risk assessments.
Further questions can also be directed to the respective licensing entity or the Department’s Criminal Background Record Unit at 717-265-7887.