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According to Beth Townsend, Iowa’s Workforce Development Director, the job market is continuing to grow and recover after national setbacks such as the pandemic. Moreover, Townsend is quoted as saying, “Iowa’s labor force continues to expand, and unemployed Iowans are finding amazing new career opportunities in this state faster now than ever before.”
That statement might be music to many employers and volunteer administrator’s ears. However, it might also pose a whole new set of challenges. The reason being is that with every new hire, there are a slew of precautions every volunteer or hiring entity needs to consider.
We’re talking about Iowa background check requirements. Do you have proper protocols in place to ensure you’re hiring the right candidate? Do those protocols include complying with state and federal laws when it comes to pre-screening candidates for employment or volunteer work? If you’re second-guessing these questions, then read further about the ins and outs of Iowa background check laws, regulations and procedures.
What Exactly Is a Background Check?
At its simplest, a background check is a process in which an employer, administrator or individual gathers information in order to verify identity, work history, or professional credentials. Some background checks can also be more in depth and can reveal information such as criminal history, credit history of even potential sex offences committed in one’s past.
A background check in Iowa, or any state is invaluable in determining whether or not a candidate is qualified to do the job he or she is being considered for employment. A more comprehensive Iowa background check might entail a hiring institution to uncover specialized information that is either germane to the position, or required by the state. Read on for more insights into how to proceed with a state of Iowa background check for your next potential employee or volunteer.
How Do I Get a Background Check in Iowa?
If you are an employer in Iowa, you can get a criminal history report from the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (IDCI). A request for an Iowa employment criminal background check can be submitted online through their website, by mail or by fax. The cost is $15.00 per last name and takes anywhere from 1-3 days to process and it might take longer for an employer to receive the results if corresponding by mail.
It might be tempting for an employer to go this route as a solution for pre-screening new hires. However, bear in mind that this criminal history report from the IDCI only reveals a small glimpse of the big picture.
To explain, a criminal background check in Iowa state does not show any criminal history that may have occurred in other states, or other countries. By comparison, a full criminal history report by PreSearch will render all criminal activity regardless if an applicant has a record in multiple states, or crimes committed internationally or on a federal level.
Furthermore, IDCI criminal history information is only that. You will not receive any background information concerning work history, education, identity verification, etc. Lastly, as mentioned, you can expect to wait awhile before you receive a criminal background check from Iowa.
The best alternative is to use professional and reliable background check services such as those provided by PreSearch. Using our diverse menu of options, you can choose precisely what types of pre-employment screening reports you and your organization needs.
Why Should Employers in Iowa Conduct Background Checks?
In the same way you wouldn’t hand over your house or car keys to a complete stranger, you can’t place all your trust in whatever an individual reveals on their application or resume.
As a business owner or employing manager in Iowa, you’re responsible for safeguarding your organization against threats such as theft, incompetence and an onslaught of other pitfalls that could be costly and severely damaging to your business.
That’s why employers should conduct background checks – it’s a matter of getting verification and confirmation that the applicant under consideration is who he or she says they are. It’s also a question as to whether or not the candidate is trustworthy.
If a trusted employees background check isn’t motivating enough to gain peace of mind about a new hire, then consider this: Some candidates under consideration for specialized work positions are required, by Iowa state law, to get a background check. In most instances, individuals seeking employment in law enforcement or healthcare industries are required to submit to a background check before being hired.
Is There Anything Unique About Background Checks in Iowa?
The state laws of Iowa do not have restrictions on an Iowa background check conducted on any applicant, or how that background information is used. Nonetheless, Iowa employers must comply with federal laws such as FCRA and Title VII regulations, which we’ll talk about in a minute.
There are, however, a few caveats when it comes to complying to Iowa background check laws. For instance, as mentioned earlier, healthcare and law enforcement workers are subject to employer-specific laws governing background checks.
In the case of security workers and law enforcement workers, employers and security agencies in Iowa are required to submit candidates/applicants to a federal and state fingerprint-based criminal background check under Iowa state law.
Healthcare workers are also subject to the same finger-print based criminal background check which is submitted to the Bureau of Criminal Identification. Additionally, candidates considered for a healthcare position must submit a child & dependent adult abuse and neglect background check through the Dept. of Human Services under Iowa state law. Hospitals must also subject potential hospital workers to a criminal background check before being hired in order to remain compliant with Iowa state law.
How Do Background Checks in Iowa Work?
Employers can request an Iowa background check from the Iowa Division of Investigation. However, this will only cover criminal history. In other words, background checks from the state will not include employment history, credit verifications, education, etc.
As an employer of Iowa you might have considered getting a background check through an online vendor who claims to offer “free” services. The information these vendors provide is generally inaccurate, incomplete or outdated. These vendors then try to bait you into buying additional services. Additionally, fly-by-night background check services do not always know, or adhere to governmental regulations.
With PreSearch, you never have to worry about getting lured in for more accurate information. We provide thorough, expedient, accurate background checks that rival “free background check” services you may have seen online. PreSearch is fully versed in Iowa employment background check laws, so you can rest assured that all screenings are done in compliance according to state, county and federal regulations.
Iowa Background Check Laws
Iowa employers are responsible for staying compliant with state and federal laws when conducting pre-hire background checks. Failure to comply could result in litigation (meaning an applicant might sue your organization), penalties and/or hefty fines. Here are a few laws that must be followed when conducting an Iowa background check.
Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
In 1970, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) was enacted on a federal level in order to protect the privacy rights of consumers. The law governs how credit information and consumer reporting agencies can gather and use sensitive details such as an individual’s identity.
If your organization’s hiring policy requires a credit report from an applicant, you must give the applicant written notice that he or she is subject to a credit check prior to the time their credit history is run.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
This federal law is one of the most important for employers to pay attention. Former president Lyndon B. Johnson signed it into effect in 1964 as a way to make a stand against discrimination in the workplace. The EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) governs and enforces Title VII, and oversees hiring entities to ensure compliance is met.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act plays a strong role in how pre-hire background checks are handled. For instance, if a background check results with criminal activity such as a conviction, the EEOC has regulations about how an employer should handle that negative information through the pre-hire process.
Under Title VII, and EEOC guidance, an employer must assess an applicant’s criminal history (if there is one) as it directly relates to the job position before opting to withhold employment. In other words, the fact that an applicant has a criminal record should not influence whether he or she gets the job. That is, unless it can be proven that the criminal history is in direct conflict with the employment position that would have been offered to the applicant.
Criminal Record Restrictions
As mentioned earlier, Iowa has very few restrictions on criminal record histories when it comes to background checks. While that might give employers and volunteer administrators in Iowa more leverage to make better hiring decisions – it does not exempt them from following federal non-discrimination laws such as Title VII, and privacy protection laws such as found in the FCRA.
What Shows Up On an Iowa Background Check?
Perhaps a better question might be, “As an employer, what information do you want to show up on an Iowa background check?” To explain, background checks can reveal a variety of different types of information. The results are contingent upon what is requested.
Many Iowa employers opt for basic information such as identity verification, criminal history, proof of education and employment history. However, when you use PreSearch you can elect to have a more in-depth view of your applicants. We offer credit checks, address history traces, and broadscope criminal checks including federal, state and local criminal history and sex offender registry lookups.
When you use PreSearch, you get the information you need. We customize every Iowa background check according to your hiring policies and your organization’s needs. Moreover, we conduct all background checks in strict compliance with federal laws as well as Iowa state and county regulations.
How Far Do Background Checks Go in Iowa?
As with most states in the nation, Iowa adheres to the seven year lookback period as the standard as established by FCRA. Furthermore, the FCRA mandates that if a candidate would stand to earn $75,000 or more per year at the job, the lookback for a background check is seven years.
Additionally, Iowa has an expungement law, which is a state law that says any expunged (removed or erased) misdemeanor over eight years old shall not be reported on a background check.
Lookback time limits do not apply to employment background, education history and other pertinent information. These details have no time restraints, and therefore can be reported regardless of the age of the information.
How Long Does a Background Check Take in Iowa?
If you opt to conduct background checks yourself, or delegate the task to your human resources (HR) team – you may find your results are slow in coming. This is because gathering the right information, going through state and government institutions and remaining in legal compliance can be extremely time consuming.
Alternatively, when you partner with PreSearch, you are getting experts in the industry at your side. We know the laws front-to-back. We also have the resources and capability of providing you with a fast background check that is laser-accurate and thorough.
Remember that at PreSearch, we specialize in background services. That makes us exceedingly qualified (and expedient) in getting you the results you need. In many cases, our results can be in your possession in just a matter of a few short hours.
How Much Do Background Checks Cost in the State of Iowa?
*a select number of states charge an additional, mandatory, county court fee in addition to our standard service fee.
We mentioned earlier that you could get an Iowa background check from the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, and this report is $15.00 per individual request. Bear in mind, however, that this will only reveal criminal history in the state of Iowa, not work history or educational verification.
You could do it yourself, or have your human resources department conduct a background search on pre-hires. As we discussed, doing background checks in-house can take a long time, and that means money racked up in paying HR staff to complete the task. What’s more, if you’re doing background checks yourself, it could mean a loss of money while your time is spent away from your core work functions.
And if you think online vendors singing the praises of “free background check” services is the way to go, we urge you to reconsider. These vendors rarely supply anything for free, and whatever results they produce are marginal at best. When it comes to getting accurate information on your applicants – marginal simply won’t pass muster.
How PreSearch Can Help You With Background Checks
From our Customers
“We love the process that you have created for us. It is super easy and efficient! Your response to our needs is like no other customer service I have ever experienced!”
At PreSearch, we give you exactly what you need, providing you with factual, pre-hire screenings that are reliable and thorough. What’s more, our conscientious and professional service providers will conduct your background check in Iowa in the strictest compliance with state and federal laws.
Running a business or volunteer organization is hard enough. You don’t have to increase your responsibilities or challenges by doing your own Iowa background check for pre-hires. Let us take the hassle out of finding the right staff for your organization. When you partner with PreSearch, you’re ensuring your organization gets the information required to make sound business staffing decisions to make your company grow and thrive.
Simple Background Screening
PreSearch delivers industry leading background screening services through simplified processes, clear reporting, and honest pricing.
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