The DEA strongly recommends employers run a pre-employment screening or background check on any employee who has access to controlled substances in the practice. They define “access” as anyone who might in any way have contact with controlled substances within the practice; this includes the opportunity to walk through a room where they might be kept.
DEA Title 21 Code of Federal Regulations
PART 1301 — REGISTRATION OF MANUFACTURERS, DISTRIBUTORS, AND DISPENSERS OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES
EMPLOYEE SCREENING — NON-PRACTITIONERS
§1301.90 Employee screening procedures.
It is the position of DEA that the obtaining of certain information by non-practitioners is vital to fairly assess the likelihood of an employee committing a drug security breach. The need to know this information is a matter of business necessity, essential to overall controlled substances security. In this regard, it is believed that conviction of crimes and unauthorized use of controlled substances are activities that are proper subjects for inquiry. It is, therefore, assumed that the following questions will become a part of an employer's comprehensive employee screening program:
- Within the past five years, have you been convicted of a felony, or within the past two years, of any misdemeanor, or are you presently charged (formally) with committing a criminal offence? Do not include any traffic violations, juvenile offences or military convictions, except by general court-martial. If the answer is yes, furnish details of conviction, offense location, date, and sentence.
- In the past three years, have you ever knowingly used any narcotics, amphetamines, or barbiturates, other than those prescribed to you by a physician? If the answer is yes, furnish details.
Advice: An authorization, in writing, that allows inquiries to be made of courts and law enforcement agencies for possible pending charges or convictions must be executed by a person who is allowed to work in an area where access to controlled substances clearly exists. A person must be advised that any false information or omission of information will jeopardize his or her position with respect to employment. The application for employment should inform a person that information furnished or recovered as a result of any inquiry will not necessarily preclude employment, but will be considered as part of an overall evaluation of the person's qualifications. The maintaining of fair employment practices, the protection of the person's right of privacy, and the assurance that the results of such inquiries will be treated by the employer in confidence will be explained to the employee.
[40 FR 17143, Apr. 17, 1975]
Under Michigan law, employers may not ask an applicant about a misdemeanor arrest that did not result in a conviction. Employers may ask about felony or misdemeanor convictions or felony arrests which did not result in a conviction. Some employers are required to conduct criminal history background checks on potential hires. However, unless required by law, it is a violation of Title VII of the US Civil Rights Act for employers to have a blanket policy of not hiring or accepting applications from anyone with a criminal conviction.
Recommended Employment Screening Providers
The DEA requires employers to focus on issues related to controlled substances. If criminal activity not related to controlled substances and/or other drugs is shown on any report, they consider this a judgement call for the employer and not necessarily a reason to deny employment.
Federal reports are not required to complete a reasonable background check or basic pre-employment screening, but can be a helpful tool for employees who have the highest level of contact with controlled substances within the practice, or have just relocated to the area.
Local Police Department: Cost Variable
You can get a background check, or criminal record or criminal reference check, at your local police department. These reports often contain a wealth of information, such as misdemeanor and felony convictions, open arrest warrants, sex offender status, and existence of any concealed weapon licenses. You can also contact your state’s Justice Department or county’s Clerk of Courts office for a certified copy of the background check.
Call your local police department or courthouse to find out the specific fees and requirements for obtaining a background check. In most cases, you will need two forms of picture ID, an authorization form from your employee and a fingerprint card. You will likely be required to pay for the background check and a fingerprinting fee. Fingerprinting is required to prevent identify theft.
Michigan State Police: $10/report
The Internet Criminal History Access Tool (ICHAT) allows the search of public criminal history record information maintained by the Michigan State Police, Criminal Justice Information Center. All felonies and serious misdemeanors that are punishable by over 93 days are required to be reported to the state repository by law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and courts in all 83 Michigan counties. Suppressed records and warrant information are not available through ICHAT. Also not included are federal records, tribal records, traffic records, juvenile records, local misdemeanors, and criminal history from other states. A search for a record that may be in another state requires that you correspond with that state directly.
- Pro: Cost and ease of use.
- Con: Does not include federal records.
Sterling Talent Solutions: $29.99/report + cost of add-on verifications
*MVMA Members Receive a Discount of 54%
Sterling Talent Solutions is an extensive online background screening tool recommended by the Michigan Veterinary Medical Association. They offer many levels of screening, including verification options for educational credentials, resume items, and professional licenses.
- Pros: Ease of use, includes federal records and options to add-on educational credentials and license verification.
- Cost: Initial fee listed above does not include set-up charged at time of service.