Background Check Laws by State

Background Check Laws by State

The laws governing background checks in the United States vary by state. Not only are the methods used to gather background information regulated, but state and federal laws also govern the way employers utilize personal data from applicants during the pre-hire process. Background check laws by state might seem overwhelming and maybe even a nuisance to some employers. However, it’s important to know that abiding by the laws protects both the applicant and the employer.

Are Background Checks the Same in Every State?

Unfortunately, the answer to this question is no. Every state has its own distinct laws when it comes to background checks. This can make things very complicated for employers who have employees in multiple states.

Other states have more restrictions on what types of information can be included in a pre-hire screening. For example, some states only require criminal history to be included, while others also require credit reports and employment history, depending on the job position.

Why do Background Check Laws Vary By State?

The reasons for the variation in background check laws from state to state are many and varied. Some states have more stringent laws than others, and some have more lenient laws. For instance, some states have laws that require employers to conduct specialized background checks on job applicants who will be working with children, the elderly, who will work in the educational realm, or applicants who will work in the medical industry. 

Additionally, employee pre-screening laws may vary by state because of differences in the criminal background check laws by state. In some states, criminal records are public information, while in others, they are not. This can make it difficult for employers to know what kinds of criminal records they are allowed to consider when making hiring decisions.

Moreover, some states have even more specific laws regulating how background checks can be conducted. Because there can be a lot of variation from state to state when it comes to background check laws, employers need to be familiar with the laws in the state where they have employees in order to avoid any legal penalties.

Ban the Box Laws

Ban the box laws are state laws that prohibit employers from asking job applicants about their criminal history on initial job applications. These laws vary by state, but typically they apply to public employers and private employers with more than a certain number of employees. The goal of these laws is to give ex-offenders a better chance at getting jobs, which can help reduce recidivism rates.

The specifics of each law vary, but generally speaking, ban the box laws forbid employers from asking about an applicant’s criminal history on initial job applications. This means that applicants with criminal records will not be automatically disqualified from consideration for a job based on their past history. Instead, they will be given a fair chance to compete for positions based on their qualifications.

Other Background Check Laws That Can Vary By State

In addition to the state employment background check laws discussed above, there are a number of other employee background check laws that can vary by state. For example, some states have laws that prohibit employers from requiring applicants to disclose their criminal history on job applications. Similarly, some states have laws that prohibit employers from asking about an applicant’s criminal history during the initial stages of the hiring process.

Other states have laws that require employers to give applicants an opportunity to explain any negative information in their background checks before making a hiring decision. And still other states have laws that have restrictions on obtaining and using credit report information for pre-hire purposes. As an employer, it’s important to be aware of the specific laws in your state so that you can ensure compliance.

How Far Back Can Background Checks Go?

Most employers run background checks as part of the hiring process. But how far back can these checks go?

In general, background checks can go back as far as seven years. However, some states have laws that have stipulations that allow employers to look back prior to the seven-year standard. how far back a check can go. 

Some state background check laws stipulate that criminal history cannot be reported if it is older than seven years, while other states have a 10-year lookback period without any restrictions at all.

Stay Informed About Background Check Laws by State

As you can clearly see, background check requirements by state can be complicated and confusing. But they don’t have to be when you have a qualified, professional background check service at your side. No matter where you conduct business in the nation, PreSearch has all of your background check services covered. Use this clickable map or click the links below to obtain background check laws for any state you desire.

Background Check Laws by State