TERRE HAUTE —
New employees of Vigo County government will have to undergo criminal background checks and pre-employment drug screens under two additions to an employee and management handbook approved Tuesday by the Board of Commissioners.
Connie Flood, county human resources director, told commissioners other Indiana counties are requiring the steps for employment.
“Right now we do random drug screens for various departments to follow either state guidelines or guidelines set by the [county] department. We took a look at most of the counties in the state, and they are moving forward with this,” Flood said.
The required tests would be effective Jan. 1.
The change states that at the discretion of department heads and elected officials, current employees are also subject to criminal background checks. If information is received which may appear to be disqualifying, the elected official or department head will consult with the human resources director as to the impact of the candidate’s potential employment.
Background check results will be handled on a case-by-case basis, according to the addendum. An applicant who provides false or misleading information during the recruitment process will face disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment and/or the withdrawal of an employment offer.
The county must establish a business necessity for the use of an applicant’s conviction record in its employment decision. The county must consider the nature and gravity of the offense for which the applicant was convicted; the amount of time that has elapsed since the applicant’s conviction and/or completion of sentence; and the nature of the job in question related to the nature of the offense committed, according to the addendum.
The background checks will be maintained in a confidential file in the human resources department, with access limited to elected officials and department heads, the applicant in question or individuals with a limited need-to-know interest as determined by the Vigo County Board of Commissioners.
On the drug test, applicants who refuse to complete the test, test positive or refuse to complete related documentation will not be hired by Vigo County, according to the addendum.
Howard Greninger can be reached at (812) 231-4204 or howard.greninger@