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November 2022

Pennsylvania Background Check
Pennsylvania Background Check
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While the nation’s unemployment rate has been skyrocketing in recent years, Pennsylvania has enjoyed its lowest unemployment rate (currently 4.2%) since June of 2000.  There’s a good reason for this healthy standing in Pennsylvania’s workforce.  Most notably, PA has some of the most plentiful job opportunities in the education and health services industries, with transportation and utility industries ranking second in Pennsylvania’s job market.  

Because Pennsylvania holds so much promise for employment, more and more workers are migrating to the Keystone state to seek ideal jobs.  Consequently, if you are an employer, hiring manager, or volunteer administrator in PA, you have a plethora of choices when selecting qualified workers. 

But which candidate is the right fit for your vacancy?  That’s a question that can only be answered by a comprehensive Pennsylvania background check. As an employer in PA, a background check is crucial in hiring trustworthy, qualified workers in Pennsylvania.  To prove this point, please read further for more information about Pennsylvania background check requirements, laws, and why this pre-hire step is critical for the success of your organization.   

PreSearch Is Here to Help

There are a bewildering amount of details when it comes to procuring a Pennsylvania background check.  From waiting for bureaucratic facilities to deliver criminal history on your candidate to priceless man hours wasted on following up on details regarding your pre-hire, conducting a background check on your own can be harrowing and costly.

Moreover, you must ensure that you are compliant with state, local, and federal laws and regulations in order to avoid expensive setbacks when conducting background checks.  

With all of this in mind, the solution is clear.  PreSearch provides you with accurate, comprehensive information for your pre-hires, and we do it in full compliance with the laws.  We make conducting background checks on your candidates effortless and easy. When it comes to background check services in the state of Pennsylvania, you can’t afford to take chances. Contact PreSearch today, and let us prove how we can streamline your pre-hire process and get you the valuable data you need to hire the best candidate for your organization.

What is a Background Check?

A Pennsylvania background check is valuable for both company employees and potential employees because it can help to uncover a person’s past attributes or blemishes. Companies will often use a background check to confirm a person’s validity when trying to make informed decisions about hiring them, such as for a new job. 

PreSearch is an accredited and FCRA-compliant background screener. If you are an employer, hiring manager, or volunteer administrator, you can trust our accurate and thorough background screening services so that you can make informed hiring and employment decisions.

Are Background Checks Necessary?

Not only are background checks necessary, but they are also essential to getting the information you need to hire the right candidate.  If you think about it, you know very little about a candidate outside of what is presented on his or her resume or application. Considering this, it becomes painfully clear that gathering more data and history is key to your business’s success and peace of mind.  

Now consider this: Up to 75% of employees have been known to commit theft while on the job, according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.  This equates to over $50 billion dollars in business losses each year.  

Faced with these staggering statistics, your business or organization can’t afford to take chances when hiring new employees.  This is why extensive pre-screenings and a Pennsylvania criminal background check are necessary for your organization’s success.

How to Get a Criminal Background Check in Pennsylvania 

Pennsylvania Background Check

As we’ve already discussed, conducting a background check in Pennsylvania is essential when screening the best candidate for your organization. It’s also important to adhere to federal and Pennsylvania background check laws when conducting pre-screen checks.

The first thing you’ll want to do is ensure that your company has a background screening policy in place. This will ensure a uniform process and make sure everyone in your company is legally screened.

Once you have your background screening policy in place, you can choose third-party services for background checks to partner with for all of your screening needs, such as PreSearch. This will ensure the process is easy and straightforward for you.

If you should happen to do your own background check, there are a few different methods. A common way to gain background data is to use an online service that can get information from the Department of State and Social Security Administration.

In Pennsylvania, the PSP (Pennsylvania State Police) is in charge of maintaining a central repository of criminal records information, which they provide through their website and through mail requests using their proprietary Pennsylvania Access to Criminal History database (known as PATCH). 

If you get a PSP criminal records check, there will be some information missing. The criminal records repository doesn’t include sensitive information shared by other state agencies, and it doesn’t contain out-of-state conviction history or federal offenses. If you choose the PSP records search, your information will not contain an applicant’s education or work background–it only includes their arrest history.

If you’re looking for background checks in Pennsylvania, it’s important to ensure that you vet your options so you don’t get scammed. You may come across free services, but many of these so-called “free” services do not always follow the FCRA and state laws before relinquishing your information (and money). 

Moreover, these online background check services frequently fall short when delivering accurate, thorough, reliable information on your candidates. Therefore, if you’re wondering how to get a background check in Pennsylvania, your best solution is to use a legitimate, trusted service such as PreSearch. 

Finding the right employees for your company can be difficult when you depend on unreliable sources that provide incomplete background information. With PreSearch, you can rest assured that the information we provide is current, accurate, and obtained by legal means. Our pre-employment background checks include conviction records from other states, the federal government, and within the state of Pennsylvania.

At PreSearch, we make it easy to verify your applicant’s employment history, educational qualifications, and background checks. We understand how important it is to comply with the law during this process, which is why our background check packages offer fully compliant Pennsylvania background checks at competitive rates with a quick turnaround time.


Please visit our service page for a full list of our offerings


Pennsylvania Background Check Laws

Getting up-to-date information on your candidate is one thing. Gathering this information in accordance with state, county, and federal laws is quite another issue altogether.  To explain, if a background check is conducted without complying with laws and regulations – your company could be exposed to lawsuits, litigation, penalties, fines, or worse.  To protect yourself from these costly and potentially devastating consequences, here are a few Pennsylvania background check laws of which to be aware. 

Federal Background Check Laws

Conducting a background check for an employee can be complicated. One of the most important tasks is understanding federal laws regarding background checks. These are extensive and can be complex, so we’ve broken down a few of the most common federal background check laws for you here.

Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) was enacted in 1970 to protect consumers, including allowing them to dispute any inaccuracies on their credit reports. The FCRA is also the regulation that requires employers to carry out a pre-employment background check on an applicant or employee and allow them to review the results if an adverse action is taken, such as denying a person’s employment. The FCRA’s key concept is that it doesn’t necessarily impact whether an employee background check is allowable; rather, it regulates how such checks must be carried out.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act 1964

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (also known as “Title VII”), it is against the law to discriminate against candidates based on their religion, color, national origin, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation or an individual’s gender identity), or ethnicity. Furthermore, the Act prohibits an employer from retaliating against any candidate or employee who lodges a complaint about discrimination on the job, files a complaint with the government, or takes part in an employment discrimination lawsuit or investigation.

Federal Ban-the-Box Restrictions

Also known as the Fair Chance to Compete for Jobs Act (or FCA), the “ban the box” law was made effective by the federal government in December of 2021.    As of this date, it’s now prohibited for certain federal employers and contractors to ask about an applicant’s criminal history before a job offer is extended.  This includes agencies from the executive, judicial, and legislative branches of the US government, as well as those who work in civil service or defense.  If you employ federal workers or are looking to hire someone, make sure your process complies with the new law by examining your job applications and interviewing policies.

The Fair Chance Act was enacted to give candidates who may have been incarcerated in the past a fair chance to compete for federal jobs. According to the Office of Congressional Workplace Rights, this act does not “remove access to criminal history information about an applicant for employment; rather, the purpose is to move that information to the end of the process” so those with criminal histories can get a fair shot at being employed by the federal government.

In other words, under the FCRA, federal employers and contractors cannot ask about arrests, indictments, formal criminal charges, sentencing, or sealed or expunged records on an application form or during the interview process.

State Background Check Laws

As you might expect, conducting a proper Pennsylvania background check requires employers to follow the state laws, which are plentiful and frequently changing. It’s important to stay current on state laws while conducting pre-screening on candidates to avoid penalties or litigation. With this in mind, here are a few established as well as new PA laws for background checks.

House Bill 764

This is a new background check law in Pennsylvania, and it is meant to level the playing field for PA employers. House Bill 764 works by removing a double standard in hiring practices for state-licensed and non-licensed businesses employing minors.

According to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Brett Miller (Republican-East Hempfield), “Employers across Pennsylvania are already struggling to find enough people to hire,” said Miller. “Those offering seasonal employment to minors are being hit doubly hard by this legislation. This new law would significantly help employers and public agencies who are looking for workers, giving them access to a wider variety of potential hires. It’s also a good way for college students and teens to get their foot in the door.”

Clean Slate Law in Pennsylvania

This law is designed to take care of concerns not just for Pennsylvania residents but also for those with an interest in the state. Passed in 2018, the law automatically seals information on criminal convictions or misdemeanors ten years old or over.  That is, as long as any court orders of restitution have been met. This means any arrests or convictions can’t show up on Pennsylvania background checks or be used for hiring decisions.

Besides statewide laws, many Pennsylvania municipalities and counties have adopted their own fair hiring ordinances. These restrictions on background checks can create confusion for employers who operate in multiple locations around the state or who employ remote employees all across the Commonwealth. If an employer is unsure about the most stringent law in a particular area, they should comply with that requirement.

Criminal History Record Information Act, 18 Pa.

Pennsylvania’s Criminal History Record Information Act states that employers may only use an employee’s previous criminal history for certain purposes in deciding whether or not to hire the applicant. Felony and misdemeanor convictions may only be considered by the employer if they relate to the job for which the candidate is applying. If an employer does make a hiring decision based on part or all of an employee’s criminal history, then it must notify the candidate in writing if that decision not to hire has been made because of anything related to the candidate’s criminal history.

If an employer violates the Criminal History Record Information Act or violates a pre-hire’s rights, the candidate can file a civil suit to recover damages. These would include all actual and consequential damages of not less than $100 for each violation, punitive damages of not less than $1,000 and not more than $10,000 if the action was found to be willful, and reasonable costs of litigation and court fees.

Local Laws for Background Checks in Pennsylvania State

Depending upon where you are hiring in the state of Pennsylvania, you may need to adhere to specific local laws when conducting background checks.  Most notably, employers in Philadelphia should pay heed to the Philadelphia Code 9-1130.

The Philadelphia Code 9-1130 is a credit check ordinance that became legally binding at the beginning of July 2016. The amendment to Rule 9-100 of the Philadelphia Code creates a new layer of protection, in the form of the Fair Practices Ordinance, for citizens against lending discrimination.

Since its inception, Philadelphia Code 9-1130 has gone through some adjustments and amendments that PA employers must be aware of.  One such amendment that addresses the employer’s requirement to complete a credit check has already affected some agencies and financial institutions. This amendment expands the scope of 9-1130, Chapter 11 in the Philadelphia Code. In particular, law enforcement agencies and financial institutions are no longer exempt from the law’s restrictions. In other words, these entities may not rely on credit information for employment decisions related to job applicants or employees.

Due to recent changes, employers in Philadelphia are now required by law to conduct credit checks on all new job seekers. Additionally, the amendment includes law enforcement agencies and financial institutions as potential consequences for noncompliance. To make sure that your business meets the requirements of the amended ordinance, review your existing policies and practices to ensure compliance with this revised code.

What Shows Up on a Background Check in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania Background Check

As an employer, you might be asking yourself, “What does a PA criminal background show?” The answer to that question depends upon what types of information your organization requires in order to fill a particular position.  For instance, you should run a background check with the Department of Transportation if your potential employee’s job functions involve driving a company vehicle or making deliveries.  You may also want to run a background check for trusted employees who may potentially be working with vulnerable segments of the population such as the elderly or children. 

At the most basic, background information should include identity verification so you, as the employer, can confirm the applicant is who he or she says they are.  You should also obtain past employment verification as well as a review and confirmation of past education (including degrees, diplomas, certifications, etc). 

Additionally,  criminal records are a part of the candidate process. With PreSearch you will be able to collect, review and verify criminal records for peace of mind. Our Pennsylvania criminal background check will reveal crucial information such as: 

  • Felonies 
  • Misdemeanor 
  • Arrests
  • Charges
  • Criminal Convictions 
  • Pending Criminal Cases 
  • History of Incarcerations 

Pennsylvania Background Check Requirements

When conducting background checks in the Keystone state, employers are allowed to inquire about some information in order to verify identity. Employers may also review a candidate’s past education and employment history.  However, there are certain details an employer in PA cannot inquire about or use in its judgment to hire or decline a position to a candidate.

For instance, PA employers can’t use disability tests to evaluate new applicants unless the test is directly related to the job. Furthermore, many districts may not approve of conducting genetic tests on their employees. However, Pennsylvania doesn’t have any laws related to the use of genetic information that are different from federal law.

If a Pennsylvania background check reveals that an individual has a medical cannabis card, it can’t be used to discriminate against them when looking for work. Under Philadelphia Code Chapter 9-4700, non-exempt businesses may not base their judgment to hire or withdraw an offer of employment based on a pre-employment marijuana test. However, Certain employers are exempt from this. Employers for law enforcement agencies or those who provide services to vulnerable groups of people are exempt from using marijuana testing results as a basis for hiring or refusing work to candidates. Those who have commercial driver’s licenses are also exempt, as are those with positions that would affect the safety and health of the public or other employees. Other exemptions may apply based on state or federal laws.

If you are an employer for a school or educational institution, Pennsylvania requires you to conduct a child abuse history check through the PA Dept. of Human Services.  A criminal records check with the PA State Police is also mandatory, as well as a federal criminal history check when hiring candidates in an educational institution. 

How Far Back do Pennsylvania Background Checks Go?

There is a standard lookback period according to the 7 year FCRA, Pennsylvania employers often adhere to.  This means that the most common length of time employers can look back into a candidate’s history is seven years.  If the salary for a particular position is at least 75,000 dollars or more, the FCRA restrictions do not apply. For these positions, the background report can go back to ten years. The FCRA guidelines don’t restrict convictions by dated time frames. Furthermore, regardless of when a conviction took place, all convictions can be reported (even if they occurred prior to the seven-year lookback standard).

All that said – under state law, there are no limitations on how far back Pennsylvania employers can probe for convictions, and a conviction for any offense (no matter how long ago) may be considered when making the hiring decision. However, Pennsylvania Clean Slate law blocks public access to information for most misdemeanor criminal convictions more than ten years old and arrests that didn’t lead to a conviction. This means that these incidents should not appear in background check results or be considered in your hiring decisions.

How Much Do Background Checks Typically Cost in Pennsylvania?

If you opt to go the DIY (do it yourself) route, you can expect to pay the Pennsylvania State Police $22 per each Pennsylvania criminal background check report.  Bear in mind that you will only receive criminal history for the state of Pennsylvania when you pay for this report.  You will not receive criminal histories in different states.  Furthermore, you will not receive basic information such as educational or employment background verification.  

You should also factor in the man hour cost involved when conducting a DIY Pennsylvania background check.  Very often, gathering all the information and contacting various different departments and organizations can be overwhelming and can cost a lot of money in terms of salaries for workers hunting down and organizing this information.  That is why PreSearch is the ideal solution. We offer affordable packages and provide you with the exact information you need promptly so you can get the most value.


*a select number of states charge an additional, mandatory, county court fee in addition to our standard service fee.

Please reach out if you would like a quote for background screening services.


How Long Does a Background Check Take in Pennsylvania 

Results can take up to four weeks when obtaining criminal background check information from the Pennsylvania State Police.  That is a tremendous amount of time if you are strapped to get the right person for a vital vacancy within your business.  However, when you partner with PreSearch, you can expect quick background check service with speedy, same-day results, and sometimes we can provide you with your background check information within a few hours.


Florida Background Check
Florida Background Check
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With its year-round balmy temperatures, thriving arts and culture scene, and relatively inexpensive cost of living – Florida is a big attraction for both employers and job-seekers alike.  But not everything is sunshine and oranges in Florida.  Recent statistics indicate that roughly 75% of small businesses have been the target of employee theft, leading to multi-millions in losses for Florida businesses each year. In fact, over 25% of Florida businesses admit that employee dishonesty in the form of theft, embezzlement, or identity theft has been a direct cause of bankruptcy or business closings.  

In light of these sobering statistics, it’s clear that obtaining a Florida background check on each of your pre-hires is critical in avoiding losses and hiring trustworthy workers.  If you are an employer in Florida, you cannot leave your pre-screening process to chance because there is too much at stake.  Furthermore, you should conduct background checks according to state and federal regulations to avoid further costly fines or penalties.  

As an employer, hiring manager, or volunteer administrator, a Florida background check for employment is your first, best action in protecting your organization and ensuring the best results in your operations.  At PreSearch, we conduct background checks in all 50 states, and we have witnessed time and again how vital this preliminary information is to the success of hiring businesses.  To underscore the importance of this point, this article addresses what you should know when conducting a background check in the Sunshine State.

How PreSearch Can Help With Your Background Checks

Pre-hire and regular background checks are essential for protecting your business.  Moreover, pre-employment background checks should comply with any and all laws that are in place. In our efforts to be compliant, we keep a close eye on the laws that govern background checks. Our staff undergoes training to learn how to find the right information for our clients.

We know you want to get started with your hiring process as quickly as possible.  This is why we’re committed to being at the forefront of technology and customer services so you can rest assured you are getting the best possible background check services available. With our latest applicant screening solutions, we can give you all the information you need so that onboarding is a snap. 

Contact us today so we can show you how effortless and time-saving we can make your pre-hiring process and learn how we can help you hire the best candidates for your business success.

What Are Background Checks?

Background checks are exactly what you might expect them to be – they are a method of determining whether or not an individual applying for a position is who they say they are. A Florida background check is meant to uncover details about an applicant to verify his or her identity as well as confirm employment and education history.  Criminal background checks in Florida are also helpful in determining if a candidate has had run-ins with the law that may interfere with his or her work performance on the job should they be hired. 

Why Are Background Checks Important?

No matter if you are running a corner ice cream shop or managing a multi-million dollar tech company in Florida – you need to know what kind of employees are working for you.  When you consider that your employees are the nuts and bolts of your business or volunteer organization, then it becomes obvious that hiring the best quality individuals is crucial.  That’s where background checks are invaluable.  

A comprehensive, accurate background check can give you the confirmation required to ensure you are hiring the right person for the job. In today’s world, trusting one’s word and a handshake simply doesn’t pass muster when it comes to hiring quality employees.  As an employer in Florida, a background check is a necessity to determine a candidate’s qualifications, trustworthiness, and viability as an employee within your organization. 

Florida Background Check

How To Get a Criminal Background Check in Florida 

There are two ways employers can perform a background check in Florida. One way is by conducting the check themselves, while the other is to work with a third-party company like PreSearch.

Here at PreSearch, we offer a service that allows you to research background information about people you are considering for hire. This can be something as simple as accessing criminal background checks in Florida, or it could involve more thorough investigations. In any case, PreSearch conducts pre-screening reports in adherence with federal and Florida background check laws so you can get the information you need quickly, easily, and lawfully.

Employers sometimes opt to conduct Florida background checks themselves. If so, they commonly start by requesting an applicant’s criminal records from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and checking for sex offenders in the state. Employers may also reach out to an applicant’s past employers and educational institutions to confirm past work and education history. 

Employers may also be tempted to go online to find information about candidates. This can be tricky business for employers because finding information online may not comply with state and federal laws. For instance, if your self-conducted search uncovers negative information on an applicant that could be used to make an adverse employment decision, Florida employers are not permitted to use this information. If this data was collected in error or illegally, the information must be erased, and the individual notified of its erasure.

An employer-conducted background check is not a replacement for a licensed, fingerprint-based report. Additionally, a do-it-yourself background check can take a very long time to complete. And once all that information is gathered and received, you may find most of the information is incorrect, out-of-date, or inaccurate.

A significant issue with do-it-yourself employment background checks is that it’s difficult to get accurate information in a timely manner, as sometimes it can take days or weeks to speak to an employee’s former employer or obtain state-issued criminal history reports. PreSearch is fully experienced at providing accurate, FCRA-compliant, and up-to-date employment background checks, so you know the results you’re getting are done right.

Therefore, to complete FCRA-compliant background checks, it is recommended that you work with a reliable background check company like PreSearch. We research thoroughly and leverage our access to reliable databases to quickly produce background checks for clients.

With PreSearch, you can pick the types of information that you need in a background check that complies with the FCRA and other important state and local laws.


Please visit our service page for a full list of our offerings


Florida Background Check Laws 

As mentioned, hiring managers, employers, and volunteer administrators must abide by state and federal laws when conducting background checks in the state of Florida. Here are some of the most pressing state and federal laws all hiring entities should be familiar with when conducting legal background checks on pre-hires.

Federal Background Check Laws

  • Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
    The Fair Credit Reporting Act was proposed in 1969 to protect consumers. The Act gives consumers the right and ability to dispute incorrect data on their credit reports. The FCRA also regulates how employers can carry out background checks on applicants or employees, and how they can view results.  The Fair Credit Reporting Act also oversees how employers gather information, what types of credit information can be obtained, and how employers are permitted to use this information in the pre-hire process. Another key concept of the FCRA is that it doesn’t stop employers from carrying out background checks; rather, they must follow its guidelines when doing so.
  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act 1964
    The Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a law against discrimination in hiring. The law prohibits discriminating on the basis of religion, color, national origin, sex (including pregnancy), ethnicity, or nationality. When an employee makes a complaint about discrimination in their workplace or participates in an employment discrimination lawsuit or investigation, the employer cannot retaliate.
  • Federal Ban-the-Box Restrictions
    The federal Ban the Box law is also known as the Fair Chance to Compete for Jobs Act. It was created by the federal government that forbids employers and contractors from asking about potential employees’ criminal histories on their job applications before they have been offered a position. As of December 2020, this means that employers and contractors may not ask about an applicant’s criminal history before they’ve been offered a job. The Fair Chance Act was put into play so that qualified candidates with past incarcerations have a fair shot at obtaining federal job positions.  The act does not “remove criminal history information about the applicant considered for employment. Rather, it moves this information to the end of the process so that a candidate may have a better chance of being hired by the federal government,” according to the Office of Congressional Workplace Rights. In short, Federal employers and contractors may not inquire candidates about indictments, sentencing, sealed or expunged records, arrests or criminal charges on pre-hire paperwork (such as an application) before a formal interview has been scheduled.
  • EEOC
    The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is dedicated to enforcing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other legislation as it relates to EEO discrimination in workplaces. The U.S. Department of Labor also has two organizations that enforce some EEO policies, the Civil Rights Center and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). It is important for employers and hiring managers to comply with EEO regulations and policies to avoid fines, penalties, and legal action from the federal government.

State Background Check Laws

Now that we’ve discussed the main federal laws to consider when conducting a Florida background check, let’s take a look at some critical state laws all employers must familiarize themselves with.

  • 112.011, Fla. Stat. (2021) – Disqualification of Public Employees Based on Criminal Convictions  
    This state law says that a criminal conviction does not automatically disqualify candidates from future employment, but there are a few situations where an applicant can be denied employment for having a low-level criminal conviction. However, if a candidate applies for a job in the public sector with a felony or first-degree misdemeanor conviction on his or her record that relates to that position, then the candidate can be denied employment by the employer.
  • 775.16, Fla. Stat (2021) – Applicants for Public Employment with Certain Drug Offenses
    Under Florida State law, §775.16 (21) prohibits people convicted of felony drug trafficking or sales from working at state agencies. However, if a person completes all the terms and conditions of their sentence and completes state-approved drug rehabilitation programs, they can potentially overcome this disqualification.
  • Ban-the-Box Laws in Florida
    Florida is one of nineteen states without a statewide ban-the-box law. However, there are communities in FL that have passed local ban-the-box laws. For instance, the City of Lakeland has passed a ban-the-box law that prohibits city employers from including conviction information on their applications for employment. Numerous cities in Florida have passed laws to ban-the-box for public sector employees, including Gainesville, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Sarasota, Orlando, and Tampa.
  • Miya’s Law
    In response to the devastating murder of a 19-year-old student by an apartment complex worker in 2021, Florida passed Miya’s Law. Miya’s Law states that property managers of unsound apartments with transient and non-transient residents should be liable for stricter liability when it comes to rental housing violations. Miya’s law also places stricter regulations on hiring practices for housing property employers and managers.
  • Does Florida Follow the 7 Year Rule?
    Yes. Florida background check records may comply with the FCRA 7 year rule, which states that certain records of criminal activity must not be accessed past seven years. Therefore, criminal records older than seven years may not be used or evaluated in the pre-hire process. However, there are caveats. Please see the limitations section below.

Limitations

  • Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
    Before 1998, the FCRA prohibited consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) from reporting any criminal convictions more than seven years old. However, today, there are instances in which this restriction does not apply. For instance, FCRA 7 year time restrictions do not apply to background investigation on a candidate’s past education or employment history, and this information can be accessed as far back as the employer deems suitable. 
  • In addition to the FCRA 7 year rule, Florida employers must ensure all credit information is accurate when consulting credit reports on applicants. To explain,  when the FCRA was created, it required businesses to ensure that consumers were protected from false information, identity theft, and compromises in privacy. Therefore, if the report proves false during a dispute, both parties must receive written notice.
  • Under FCRA laws, credit reporting agencies are not allowed to report information on arrests that did not result in a conviction. This includes all arrest records more than seven years old. Employers also cannot use this type of information as the basis for making adverse employment decisions.
  • Also, if an employee stands to earn more than $75,000 a credit reporting agency may report any activity that may have taken place before the 7 year lookback period. 

There can be dire consequences when employers or background check services fail to comply with the FCRA. Failure to comply could result in an applicant filing legal claims against an employer, which could lead to hefty fines and penalties.

Types of Background Checks in Florida 

There are different levels of background checks in Florida, and these levels are as follows:

  • Level 1 Checks: Level one checks are name-based and state-only background checks. This is a preliminary check that assesses a candidate’s employment and education history in the state of Florida. This check also reviews whether or not an applicant may be listed on the national sex offender registry. In some instances, level one checks may dive into credit scores and a local Florida criminal records search.
  • Level 2 Checks:  A Level two Check requires the applicants to have their fingerprints processed.  Level two checks are comprehensive background checks conducted by the FBI and/or Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). If an applicant has any incidents on their record that would prohibit them from owning firearms or impede work performance, an employer may have grounds to refuse employment after these checks are complete.
  • Level 3 Background Checks: Florida does not require level three background checks. Nevertheless, some employers consider a background check from the FDLE as a level three type of check.
Florida Background Check

What Information Does a Florida Background Check Contain

The information you will receive on a Florida background check largely depends upon what types of information you require from the applicant as well as what data you need in terms of the position for which you are hiring.  

For instance, if you are hiring an individual who will be working in a sensitive environment among vulnerable segments of the population (such as eldercare, medical industry, or childcare) you should get a thorough background check for trusted employees which dives more deeply into an applicant’s background.

At the very least, a background check should verify an applicant’s identity and confirm his or her employment history as well as education experience (including verification of earned diplomas, certifications, and/or degrees).  

Many employers benefit from conducting criminal background checks in Florida which will reveal if an applicant has a criminal history.  To further ensure a comprehensive understanding of an applicant, employers may also want to obtain nationwide and international criminal history background checks which will indicate if a pre-hire has committed a crime(s) in other locations outside of the state of Florida.

How Far Back Do Background Checks Go in Florida

How far back do background checks go in Florida depends upon certain criteria.  As mentioned earlier, most background checks look into criminal and credit history only 7 years prior to applying for a position according to FCRA guidelines.  However, education and employment history lookbacks can go beyond the 7 year standard.  Furthermore, employers may also search beyond the 7 year mark for certain positions such as federal, government, or high-earning positions ($75,000 or more per year). 

How Much Does a Background Check Cost in Florida?

As an employer, you can conduct a criminal history report from the FDLE ( Florida Department of Law Enforcement) This will cost $24 per individual report. Bear in mind this state-generated criminal report will not reveal all the other types of background information that might be relevant to your applicant’s situation.

Some employers might be tempted to try out so-called “free” background check report services online.  This is ill-advised because not every website claiming to offer a free Florida background check is legitimate. You should avoid these providers, as they often provide inaccurate information or incomplete searches. Relying on this type of information when making hiring decisions could open you up to liability.

With PreSearch, we offer several different packages and add-ons depending on your needs. No matter what you need, our customization options can help you get the information you need on your candidates, and we gather all our information within compliance with all state and federal laws.


*a select number of states charge an additional, mandatory, county court fee in addition to our standard service fee.

Please reach out if you would like a quote for background screening services.


How Long Does it Typically Take to Complete a Background Check?

How quickly you get your pre-employment background checks depends on how you complete them. For instance, when searching for criminal history information, a state-level search would take around seven days or longer. If you DIY your background checks, it can take several weeks to contact local organizations such as education institutions, employment references, and more.  Moreover, it can be extremely time-consuming to verify, double-check, and organize a background check on your own.

A far more efficient and expedient solution is to use a fast background check service such as PreSearch. We offer in-depth background checks that are quick and accurate. We collect as much information as possible, and there will also be a detailed report reviewing everything our background check revealed. In many cases, our turnaround time can be same-day.

Texas Background Check
Texas Background Check
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There is a common saying that “everything is bigger in Texas,” and this is certainly true for its expansive job market.  Because Texas does not have personal, state, property, or corporate taxes, it is a magnet for business owners and job-seekers alike.  Along with its cultural and natural diversity, Texas also offers some of the broadest employment opportunities, with healthcare, technology, construction, and transportation being some of the leading industries enjoying booming growth in the Lone Star State today.

If you’re an employer, hiring manager, or volunteer administrator in the state of Texas, you’re probably fully aware of the benefits and amenities the state provides to ensure healthy business growth and success.  However, do you know about the importance of making a Texas background check part of your pre-hire process? If not, you owe it to yourself and the ongoing good fortune of your enterprise to understand the inner workings of obtaining a background check in Texas for employment for new hires.  Please read further for answers and details about how the state approaches pre-screening checks and learn about Texas law on background checks for hiring.

How PreSearch Can Help

Background check compliance can seem confusing, and it’s easy for companies to take the wrong step. Thankfully, PreSearch is here to help guide you. We’ll streamline the process by providing thorough background checks, as well as helpful tips and industry best practices.

At PreSearch, we’re always looking to provide industry-leading background checks for Texas and all 50 other states. You can count on our quick, accurate, and reliable results that will position you in an admirable position of being fully informed and best equipped to find the best fit for your business or organization.

What is a Background Check?

Background checks are a way of determining whether or not someone is who they say they are. In Texas, a background check may also be used to find out whether or not an applicant has had any altercations with the law, which may interfere with their work performance if hired.

How To Get a Criminal Background Check in Texas 

The Texas Department of Public Safety (TDPS) manages all background checks in the state of Texas. The TDPS operates the state’s Conviction Database, which curates all public criminal records pulled from the Computerized Criminal History (CCH) system. CCH is a vast database containing all the state’s criminal records, but only qualified law enforcement and criminal justice agencies can access it.  

The Texas Department of Public Safety or the Texas Office of Court Administration oversees public records, such as criminal histories and court records. Organizations can request copies by going through the appropriate channels. Therefore, employers can request a criminal background check in Texas from TDPS by going directly to their website, or visiting one of their physical offices.

While many companies take on the responsibility of a background check themselves, PreSearch is a great alternative. Our third-party company can do the heavy lifting and provides information that you would never have access to on your own. We’ll examine all possible sources of an applicant’s history before we render any conclusions. Moreover, conducting a Texas background check on your own will only provide public records, whereas PreSearch can provide far more details, including national criminal records, social security and name trace records, identity verification, and much more.  More importantly, PreSearch provides accurate, fast background searches while remaining wholly compliant with federal and Texas background check laws.


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Common Reasons Why Employers Find Background Checks Helpful 

Depending on what kind of job position you are trying to fill, your reasons for using services for background checks may vary from other employers.  For instance, if your business is in the transportation industry and you are screening for drivers within your company, it’s clearly a good idea to conduct a check on an applicant’s driving record.  

Almost all employers want to confirm an applicant’s employment history in order to confirm he or she has received prior training in their specialized field.  In addition to obtaining employment history, a background check can also be used for confirming educational background and determining if an applicant has received the degree, diploma, certifications, etc., that they may claim on a resume or application.  

In some cases, such as when a pre-hire might be handling a company’s finances, an employer may want to conduct a credit history check.  This can be revealing and helpful in terms of determining whether or not the applicant might be trustworthy with your business’s financial assets.

Of course, a criminal background check shouldn’t be overlooked when considering new applicants.  Most employers opt to have a Texas criminal background check to ensure the position offered to the applicant does not pose a conflict should he or she have negative marks on their criminal record.  There are still other employers who have good reason to obtain a background check for trusted employees, which is a type of check that is tailored for employees who will be working with vulnerable segments of society, such in the medical, eldercare, or childcare industry. 

Texas Background Check

Texas Background Check Laws 

Now that we’ve discussed some reasons to get a background check for pre-hires you might be wondering about Texas background check laws.  While Texas laws for conducting background checks are not as stringent as some other states, such as California, there are rules that must be followed.  Failure to comply with state and federal laws can lead to lawsuits, fines, penalties, and a slew of problems for any business owner.  Here is a rundown of common laws every employer or hiring manager should know while engaging in the pre-screening process.

Federal Background Check Laws

In addition to adhering to Texas state laws, employers must also abide by federal laws when looking into an applicant’s background.  Here are some of the most important federal laws to consider during the pre-hire process.

Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA

The Fair Credit Reporting Act was proposed in 1969 to protect consumers. The Act gives consumers the right and ability to dispute incorrect data on their credit reports. The FCRA also regulates how employers can carry out background checks on applicants or employees, and how they can view results. The Fair Credit Reporting Act also oversees how employers gather information, what types of credit information can be obtained, and how employers are permitted to use this information in the pre-hire process. The overarching theme of the FCRA is that it doesn’t stop Texas employers from carrying out background checks; rather, employers must follow its guidelines when doing so.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act 1964

This is a law against discrimination in hiring. The law prohibits discriminating on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, or ethnicity – to name a few. Also, if an employee complains about discrimination at work or participates in a discrimination lawsuit, their employer’s hands are tied, in that they cannot retaliate.  Essentially, this law protects applicants from being discriminated against based on personal characteristics as well as protects people from defending others who have been discriminated against.

Federal Ban-the-Box Restrictions

The federal Ban the Box law, also recognized as the Fair Chance to Compete for Jobs Act, was created by the federal government to forbid employers and contractors from asking about potential employees’ criminal histories on their job applications before they have been offered a position. This means that since the law was enacted in December 2020, employers and contractors may not ask about an applicant’s criminal history before they’ve been offered a job.

EEOC

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is charged with enforcing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other legislation as it relates to discrimination in workplaces. Workplace anti-discrimination laws are enforced by two organizations, the Civil Rights Center and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. Employers and hiring managers should comply with these regulations to avoid being fined for violations, or else face penalties or legal action from the U.S. federal government.

State Background Check Laws

Texas employers should be aware of the laws that limit their ability to access or misuse information from background checks that are not job-related. This can help ensure compliance with federal, state and local regulations for background checks. Here are a few other tips for state-related laws when conducing pre-screening functions.

Ban the Box Law in Texas

To date, there are no statewide ban-the-box laws in Texas. However, some regions might have fair chance hiring regulations that could stop an employer from asking you to provide your criminal history on a state form.

Currently, San Antonio, Travis County, and Dallas County all have bans on asking about criminal histories for city or county positions. In Austin, employers must wait until after an applicant is offered a job before checking into their criminal history. There is a $500 fine for any violations of this rule.

Current and Past Arrests and Convictions

In many states, employers cannot consider arrest records, but in Texas, they are legally allowed to. This means that, in the state of Texas, employers can inquire about arrests and convictions for job applicants. The only limitation is that employers cannot inquire into the person’s arrest or conviction information if it has been expunged from the public record.

Numerous US human rights groups take issue with the use of arrest histories as a consideration for hiring. The argument is that arrests do not prove guilt and must not be used in any way that would disqualify a job seeker. Employers are encouraged to find out whether an arrest led to a charge or conviction, specifically.

PreSearch is committed to helping you avoid pitfalls when attaining qualified workers for employment. We are fully versed in the Texas background check laws, and will help you along every step of the way with your pre-hire process.

Texas Background Check

How Far Back Does a Background Check Go in Texas

According to the 7 year rule background check, Texas employers can be restricted to investigating seven years prior to an applicant’s criminal background history – any activity prior to seven years is typically not permitted to use, depending on the crime.  However, there are some caveats to this lookback rule.

If a prospect is applying for a position that pays more than $75,000 annually, then under Texas law (TX Bus. Code Sec. 20.05), the employer has the legal right to check the applicant’s records from eighteen years of age and up.

Furthermore, employers should keep in mind that court records are not made public when a person is 18 years or younger. Therefore, an employer will likely not see any criminal convictions incurred before a minor turns 18.

If you, as an employer, choose to hire a third-party service to conduct their background or credit checks, the seven-year rule applies. As consumer reporting agencies are subject to both federal and state regulations and limitations, the newly hired person should not have committed any of the prohibited actions during the past seven years. So if you are wondering how far back does a background check go in Texas, the standard answer is seven years, with some exceptions.

What Shows Up on a Background Check in Texas

If you are wondering what shows up on a background check in Texas, you might be interested to know that Texas provides ample leeway when it comes to employers accessing public records for the pre-screening process. Employers have access to public information, such as criminal and civil court records, sex offender records, and any information on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. Court records provide insight into a potential candidate’s litigiousness, while other public records help identify what positions an applicant may be a good fit for. Social media posts can reveal details about a potential applicant that employers find relevant. However, employers are prohibited from using social media or public record information they discover to discriminate against an applicant for any reason that is protected by state or federal law. Other information that is available to Texas employers when conducting pre-screening checks may include:

  • Felonies 
  • Misdemeanor 
  • Arrests
  • Charges
  • Criminal Convictions 
  • Pending Criminal Cases 
  • History of Incarcerations 

How Much Can Background Checks Cost in the State of Texas?

If you opt to obtain a fingerprint-based criminal history background check from the Texas Department of Public Safety, the fee is $15 per request.  Please bear in mind that this information will only provide you with the criminal history that has taken place in Texas. It will not provide you with essential information such as educational history, employment history, and other useful information to help you formulate the best choice for new hires.  Therefore, delegating background checks to your human resources department or doing checks yourself could amount to a significant amount of man-hours while gathering up all the information. This equates to a substantial cost.  A far better option is to team with PreSearch which offers affordable background checks for the state of Texas in a timely manner with accurate results.


*a select number of states charge an additional, mandatory, county court fee in addition to our standard service fee.

Please reach out if you would like a quote for background screening services.


How Long Does a Background Check Take in Texas 

The answer to how long does a background check take in Texas is contingent upon how you conduct your background check.  Texas Department of Safety criminal history reports can take days or weeks to process.  Also, if you opt for the do-it-yourself route for Texas background checks, it’s worth noting that background checks can take up an extraordinary amount of time. From calling previous employers to checking educational institutions – contacting references, and waiting for state-generated checks – all of this can take days, if not weeks.

This is when PreSearch is your best solution. We provide you with quick background checks that are compliant with Texas and federal laws.  Furthermore, our background checks are accurate, current, and thorough, which is a standard that is hard to achieve when going it on your own. 


Simple Background Screening

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