LGBT Awareness For Background Investigators

This course fills in an important training gap for anyone involved in conducting or supervising the background investigation process. Our intent is to help law enforcement agencies identify and hire qualified applicants and to set these applicants up for success on the job through an experience in the background investigation process that is free from discrimination of any kind.

The Background Investigator plays a critical role in the screening of applicants for law enforcement positions at every level of the organization. How the investigator writes the report and records the facts and details they find can directly impact the hiring decision made by the agency executive. Since job applicants are protected from discrimination similar to hired employees, there is significant civil liability for the investigator and employing law enforcement agency when a an LGBTQ+ identified applicant is treated differently because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Good applicants are hard to find these days and no agency can afford to have a candidate walk away from a job because of the way they were treated by the background investigator. That investigator is an important representative of the agency and must be able to effectively communicate with applicants so as no to convey the wrong message.

Whether your agency does background investigations in-house or contracts out for this important service, the individual background investigators need training in order to understand sexual orientation and gender identity and how to communicate professionally and appropriately using current terminology. LGBT awareness training is not part of any background investigator training program we are aware of and the purpose of this course is to fill this urgent need.

The officer who conducted by background investigation refused to use my correct pronouns and only referred to me with my deadname. I walked away from the job because I didn’t want to deal with this kind of disrespect my entire career.

Everyone in the agency knew I was gay before I started there. The background investigator told everyone and I was set up to fail before I started.

After I told the background investigator that I was a trans man, he told me that this agency isn’t a good fit for someone like me.

These are typical examples of complaints about background investigator conduct that puts law enforcement agencies in danger for civil liability and loose an otherwise qualified applicant.

Policeman's bulletproof vest and badge.

This two-hour course includes 6 modules that are designed to address the following Student Learning Outcomes (SLO).

  1. Explain the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity and how they relate to and intersect with race, religion, and culture. (SLO 1)
  2. Define terminology used to describe sexual orientation and gender identity. (SLO 2)
  3. Apply related employment protection and gender identity laws related to the completion of a background investigation. (SLO 3)

The course offers separate tracks for those background investigators in California and those working in another state. Interactive scenarios are used throughout this self-paced class. To receive a certificate, participants must pass the final course quiz with a score of at least 80%. Participants are given two chances to pass before having to repeat the course. This course is certified by the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training. California law enforcement personnel receive 2 hours of CPT credit.  The cost of this course is $20.

For California agencies, this course does not meet the training requirements for LGBT awareness for law enforcement described in section 13519.41PC. This class contains portions of that training, but focuses on interactions between background investigators and applicants.  Learn more about LGBT awareness for law enforcement training.

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