Michigan Background Checks

Michigan Background Checks

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The job market in Michigan is finally on the rebound after several years of floundering from nationwide and global setbacks such as the pandemic and economic instability.  In fact, the US Congress Joint Economic Committee recently reported that Michigan added over 135,000 new payroll jobs, coaxing the state’s unemployment rate to fall by 1.9% in the last 12 months.

This is a promising outlook for employers in Michigan.  It means that the workforce is becoming more stimulated, which implies that employers are in a position to hire better help for vacant positions.  Although the job market is beginning to restabilize, Michigan employers still don’t have it easy.  

To explain, as a hiring manager or employer in Great Lake State, you’re responsible for hiring the best candidate for the job.  That entails conducting a Michigan background check to ensure individuals applying for jobs within your organization are verified, qualified and trustworthy.

Why Look To PreSearch for Background Check Services

Your time is money, and you can’t afford to wait on the results you need to hire the right people.  Additionally, you can’t place your trust in so-called “free” or limited state-sourced services when it comes to getting the most trustworthy and qualified person for the job.  With PreSearch we eliminate all doubt. Our fast, accurate, comprehensive background checks in Michigan give you all the information you need to make the best decision about your new-hires.  What’s more, we make background checks effortless for you, freeing you to concentrate on other pressing matters within your business or organization.  With PreSearch, you never have to worry about overwhelming details, wasting time, or staying compliant. We make everything easy for you.

What is a Background Check?

A background check is precisely what you might expect it to be.  It is the process of gathering data about an individual in order to verify their identity, confirm work history, as well as verify education history.  A background check might also look into an applicant’s criminal record or credit history.  The purpose of background checks in Michigan is to ensure the applicant you are interviewing is precisely who he or she claims to be on their application or resumé.

How to Get a Background Check in Michigan

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Because the process of getting a state of Michigan background check can be arduous, complex, and time-consuming, most employers opt to use a professional third-party service to take care of all the details for them.  To elaborate, employers may opt to go through the Michigan State Police name-based criminal history database by using their Internet Criminal History Access Tool (ICHAT). However, employers soon discover that the information they get is limited. The ICHAT is only a Michigan criminal background check for employment – it will not include other information such as employment history or educational verification. Furthermore, this state-sourced criminal report will not disclose any nationwide or international criminal activity (if any).

Instead, hiring managers and employers are afforded far better advantages by using services to help with background checks. When using the professional investigators at PreSearch, you get the entire history of your applicants without going through the hassle of gathering all the information and waiting for results.  Moreover, PreSearch gives you a wide variety of accurate, meaningful reports that give you the full spectrum of data you need to make the right decision for your new hire.  We do all this while remaining strictly compliant with state, local, county, and federal laws.

Federal Laws on Employment Background Checks

What all employers should realize is that Michigan background check laws should be strictly adhered to, but even more important is abiding by federal laws when conducting pre-screens for new hires.  Here are the most important federal laws all Michigan employers should be aware of when conducting lawful background checks.


The federal government initiated the Fair Credit Reporting Act as a means to protect consumer privacy. This is a comprehensive law that regulates and governs the appropriateness of gathering and using consumer information.  To explain, sometimes a Michigan pre-employment background screening might require an employer to get a credit check on an applicant. As a consumer, the applicant’s information is protected under the FCRA. 

Under the FCRA, credit reporting agencies are prohibited from disclosing arrests that did not lead to convictions older than seven years old.  Credit reporting is also limited to revealing types of information over seven years old such as civil lawsuits, collections, and bankruptcies under the FCRA.  There is a caveat to this restriction. If an employee stands to earn $75,000 or more, the law does not apply, and employers are allowed to check back longer than the standard seven years when conducting a credit check on applicants.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act

In 1964, the federal government passed the Civil Rights Act, and Title VII is a critical part of adhering to government law when conducting a by-the-book background check in Michigan.  This pivotal law is overseen by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and is meant to prohibit employers from discriminating against applicants according to certain characteristics.  In short, it is unlawful to award or deny employment to applicants based on factors such as race, religion, political affiliation, or gender – just to name a few characteristics.  

Title VII also comes into play when conducting a criminal background check in Michigan. According to the EEOC guidelines, employers may not use conviction information as a basis for denying an applicant employment.  Title VII and the EEOC specifically state that an employer should assess each applicant and their convictions (if any) as they relate to the position the applicant might be awarded before making a decision to grant or deny the applicant employment.

Michigan State Background Check Laws

Michigan Background Checks

Whether your organization is conducting a Michigan criminal background check or simply verifying the identity of an applicant – it is important to follow Michigan state laws during the Michigan pre-employment background screening process.  Failure to comply with local, county, and state laws could lead to hefty fines and penalties from the state which could be a big setback for your organization. Furthermore, not conducting background checks in accordance with the laws could lead to lawsuits and litigation. That is why it is critical to understand and abide by state and federal laws. Here are a few of the most common Michigan state laws all employers must heed when conducting background checks. 

Misdemeanor Arrest

According to Michigan state law, it is unlawful to inquire if an applicant has had misdemeanor arrests, dispositions, or detentions that did not result in a conviction.  This state law, MI Comp. Laws  §§ 37.2205a states that the applicant is legally permitted not to disclose details about these arrests during the pre-screening process.  However, this law does not apply to felony charges that are pending dismissal or conviction.  Write about misdemeanor arrests in detail. An applicant can legally withhold information about such arrests during the application process. 

Criminal Records

In some instances, individuals applying for a position may have expunged or sealed records.  In this case, an applicant can legally opt not to disclose that he or she has a criminal record.  However, when it comes to a criminal background check, Michigan law expressly states that  expunged or sealed records are not to be factored into an employer’s decision to hire or deny employment to an applicant.  Furthermore, anyone sent to a juvenile diversion program or sentenced under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act will typically have sealed records, which cannot be admissible when hiring an applicant.

Unavailable Records

Not only are sealed or expunged records inaccessible to employers during a pre-hire screening of an applicant but there are also other records that will not be available upon inquiry. To explain, when an employer goes through the state-sourced ICHAT database, data such as juvenile records, tribal records, traffic records, and federal records will not be disclosed.

City of Detroit Employers

Under Detroit Municipal Code §§ 13-1-11, 12, 13, public contractors in Detroit, MI, and public employers in the city of Detroit are not permitted to inquire or factor any criminal conviction in the employment process until after the applicant has been scheduled for a formal interview.  However, this law is made exempt if employers must hire for positions where state and federal laws require criminal background checks.  

What Shows Up on a Background Check in the State of Michigan?

Michigan Background Checks

When using a qualified and reliable background search service, employers have many options in the types of information they can obtain for a Michigan background check.  Alternatively, if you opt to go exclusively through the state’s ICHAT database search, you will only receive criminal background information for the state of Michigan.   

Criminal History

If an applicant proves to have a criminal record, a Michigan criminal background check will divulge specific details such as the criminal case number, date of arrest, charges, disposition, and date of disposition.  The criminal history will also disclose the severity of the charge (whether it is a felony or a misdemeanor) as well as details surrounding the sentence.


Getting employment verification is a must in order to confirm an applicant has worked in the positions claimed on an application.  Employment background checks are also crucial to determine if an applicant has the work skills and on-the-job qualifications required in the position for which he or she is applying. Confirming an applicant’s employment background protects hiring companies from potential problems if an applicant has falsified his or her work history on an application.


It’s important to confirm education history during the pre-hire screening process.  The reason being is that employers need to verify an applicant has achieved a certain level of education she or he has claimed on their application or resume.  Furthermore, an education background check will reveal whether or not an applicant has earned degrees, certifications, licenses, or diplomas that might be integral to the job position offered.

How Far Back Does a Background Check Go in Michigan?

As with most states, Michigan abides by the 7-year lookback period, which is the standard established by the FCRA.  The FCRA also controls what types of information can be accessed during those seven years.  For instance, civil lawsuits or collections cannot be reported prior to 7 years from the time a background check is run.  However, if an applicant stands to earn $75,000 or more if granted the job position, then the 7-year lookback period does not apply and employers can look back into an applicant’s credit history past the 7 year standard.  Criminal convictions can be reported no matter what the age – and information such as education and employment history can go past the 7-year lookback period as well. But in general, the answer to how far back does a background check go in Michigan is the standard 7 years.

How Much Can Background Checks Cost in Michigan?

*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.

As an employer in Michigan, you can expect to pay $10 per report if you use the ICHAT system.  However, you can expect to pay a lot more in human resources or administrative hours because it takes an inordinate amount of time to gather, track down, and verify employee information if the check is done in-house.  

Furthermore, the time spent waiting on state-sourced information and compiling background data means money wasted when the applicant could have been in his or her position sooner if a third-party background check service is used.

Moreover, if your organization opts for a DIY background check, you may be opening yourself up to costly lawsuits and liabilities if these checks are not conducted according to state and federal laws.  

Some employers might consider using a so-called free background check service, but this is ill-advised.  In most cases, these turn out to be questionable companies, and the information they claim to provide is almost always inaccurate or out of date.

Ultimately, you are at a far better advantage by going with PreSearch for your background check service needs.  Our services are highly affordable, especially if you factor in that having the most accurate information at your fingertips quickly and easily (and in compliance with the law) is a priceless asset in your organization’s pocket. 

How Long Does it Take to Get a Background Check Completed in Michigan?

As mentioned, if you DIY a background check, you can anticipate spending a significant amount of time hunting down information, gathering details, and waiting on governmental institutions to send you the criminal background check you require.  Plus, it takes time to learn about state, city, county, and federal laws to ensure your organization stays compliant.  All of this could amount to days or weeks to get background check results.  Alternatively, you can make the smart choice and get fast background checks with PreSearch. In most cases, we can get you same-day results.

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