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While the national job market has experienced some unsettling shifts, Minnesota has seen some promising growth in employment rates. In fact, as of 2022, the state has added over 17,000 jobs, and unemployment rates continue to drop. This makes Minnesota an attractive state for both potential employees and employers alike. For business owners, Minnesota is highly appealing because it provides moderately low operating costs and competitive tax rates. While the Land of 10,000 Lakes is a great place to live, work, and play, employers must abide by Minnesota employment background check laws. With this in mind, here are some vital points about the Minnesota background check process that every employer in MN should be familiar with while screening applicants.
What is a Background Check?
A background check is a process whereby someone’s criminal history, financial history, and other relevant information are looked into to determine whether or not that person is suited for a particular job or task. In many cases, employers will conduct background checks on potential employees to get a better sense of their qualifications and whether or not they might pose a risk to the company.
The Importance of Background Checks
When it comes to keeping your business or volunteer organization safe, there’s no such thing as being too cautious. That’s why background checks are so important. By running a background check, you can get peace of mind knowing that the person you’re hiring is not hiding anything detrimental in their past.
In Minnesota, background checks are required for some jobs, such as working in a daycare or being a nurse. But even if they’re not required by law, they’re still a good idea to obtain. After all, you wouldn’t want to hire somebody without knowing their full history.
How To Get a Criminal Background Check in Minnesota
In order to get a Minnesota background check, you will need to contact the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA). You can do this by visiting their website or by calling them and requesting a Minnesota public criminal record.
Bear in mind, however, that when you contact the BCA, you will only receive Minnesota criminal background checks – which only reveals criminal activity in the state. You will not receive other vital information, such as criminal activity (if any) in other states. Nor will you be able to obtain other essential data such as educational background or employment history.
That is why it’s best to obtain a Minnesota background check from professional third-party services for background checks, such as PreSearch. We provide you with comprehensive background information according to your hiring needs.
How Are Background Checks Different for Minnesota Employers?
Some, but not all, states in the US have “ban the box” laws, and Minnesota is one of them. Since 2014, private employers have been required to abide by “ban the box” restrictions. This prohibits employers from disqualifying pre-hires from employment based on their criminal history.
Another Minnesota background check law is that employers may not conduct a criminal background check until the applicant has had a formal interview and is considered a viable candidate for the job.
Minnesota is also different from some other states because background checks are required for certain positions, such as if a candidate works with minors or in law enforcement.
If you are an employer in Minneapolis or St. Paul, you are required to follow additional notification practices. Let’s say an applicant in either of these two cities was declined employment, or their request to obtain a professional license was denied due to their criminal record. In this scenario, employers in these two cities must inform applicants in writing that these grievances are taken into account during the decision-making process of employment.
Moreover, the Minnesota Data Practices Act governs how state and local government agencies can collect, use, store, and distribute data about individuals. This law applies to public employers conducting employment background checks.
Background Check Laws in Minnesota
In addition to state and local laws, Minnesota employers are also obligated to follow federal rules when obtaining a Minnesota background check. Here are some of the most noteworthy federal laws every MN employer must abide by during the pre-hire process.
Federal Laws on Employment Background Checks
Here are the most prominent and integral federal laws every employer should know when conducting a Minnesota background check on applicants.
Civil Rights Act,Title VII
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, color, or national origin. Title VII of the Act, which is also known as the Equal Employment Opportunity Act, makes it illegal for any employer to discriminate against employees on the basis of these protected characteristics. The Civil Rights Act also created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which is responsible for enforcing Title VII and investigating claims of discrimination.
In addition to prohibiting discrimination in employment, Title VII also prohibits an employer to retaliate against an employee or candidate who may complain about discriminatory practices. Workers or candidates who believe they have been subjected to discrimination or retaliation can file a charge with the EEOC.
Title VII applies to all employers with 15 or more employees, including local and state governments and educational institutions. Under Title VII, employers must take steps to ensure that their employment practices and pre-hire practices do not discriminate on the basis of protected characteristics.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
The FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) is a federal law that governs the way in which credit reporting agencies collect and use information about consumers. The FCRA also gives consumers the right to know what is in their credit report, and to dispute any inaccurate information.
The FCRA applies to all credit reporting agencies that operate in the United States, including those located in Minnesota. Under the FCRA, these agencies must follow certain rules when handling consumer information, such as:
- Obtain written consent from the job applicant or employee before ordering a background check
- Provide a clear and conspicuous disclosure to the job applicant or employee that a background check may be obtained
- Certify to the consumer reporting agency that the employer has provided the required disclosures.
- Will not use the information in violation of any applicable federal or state equal opportunity laws
- Take reasonable steps to ensure that the information they collect is accurate and up-to-date
Minnesota Employment Background Check Laws
Overall, Minnesota’s employment background check laws are fairly standard when compared to other states. However, it’s always important to know what laws apply in your specific state so that you can be sure you’re complying with all of them. Here is an overview of Minnesota employment background check laws.
The Minnesota Government Data Practices Act (MGDPA)
The MGDPA is a state law in Minnesota that establishes how government data is collected, managed, and disseminated. It also provides individuals with certain rights regarding their data. The law applies to all state and local government agencies in Minnesota.
The MGDPA was enacted in 1975 in response to concerns about the potential for abuse of government power through the misuse of data. The law was designed to strike a balance between the need for government agencies to have access to data and the need for individuals to have control over their personal information.
The MGDPA requires government agencies to:
- Collect data only for legitimate governmental purposes
- Ensure data is accurate, relevant, and up-to-date
- Destroy outdated or unnecessary data
- Protect data from unauthorized access or disclosure
- Allow individuals to access their own data and correct any errors
- Individuals have the right to:
- Know what data is being collected about them
- Access their own data
- Request correction of inaccurate or incomplete data
The Minnesota Human Rights Act
The Minnesota Human Rights Act is a state law that prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, education, and public accommodations on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, disability, status with regard to public assistance, sexual orientation, or age. The Act also establishes the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR), which is responsible for investigating complaints of discrimination and enforcing the Act.
Ban the Box Law z
The Minnesota Ban the Box Law prohibits employers from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history on an initial application. Employers may still run a criminal background check after extending a job offer, but they must give the applicant an opportunity to explain any convictions. The law applies to private employers with more than five employees, as well as state and local government agencies.
What Shows Up on a Background Check in Minnesota?
In Minnesota, a background check will show up any criminal convictions, as well as any pending criminal cases. If the person has been convicted of a felony, that will also be noted on the background check. In addition, any history of violence, sexual offenses, or drug use will be included on the background check.
How Long Does a Minnesota Background Check Take?
A Minnesota background check usually takes about two weeks if one goes through state-run organizations. However, if the person being checked has a criminal record, it may take longer. Furthermore, a comprehensive Minnesota background check could take significantly longer if you are doing it yourself, because it takes time to organize and gather all the information required. It also takes time to receive information from various past employers or educational institutions.
If you want a quick background check, you are better off using an efficient, time-saving service such as PreSearch. In many instances, we can provide full background information on your pre-hires in only a few hours and sometimes in the same day.
How Far Back Does a Background Check Go in Minnesota
In Minnesota, a background check can go back as far as seven years. This includes criminal records, employment history, education, and more. In some instances, information on applicant’s may go back further, but in general, most MN employers abide by the sever year lookback standard.
How Much Do Background Checks in Minnesota Cost?
The cost of Minnesota criminal background checks will vary depending on the type of check you need and the agency you use. Fingerprint-based criminal history checks through the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) cost $15 per person. Additional fees may be required if you request other types of background information from the BCA such as fingerprint services.
If you factor in the amount of employee hours involved with getting a thorough background check (if you go the DIY route), then you’re looking at a very costly scenario. In many instances, in-house run employee checks can take days or weeks. This equates to an expensive process for any employer or business owner.
Your best option is to obtain a thorough, fast background check at an affordable rate through a private company such as PreSearch.
*a select number of states charge an additional, mandatory, county court fee in addition to our standard service fee.
How PreSearch Can Help With Background Check Services in Minnesota
PreSearch is a powerful resource that is designed to help you get the information you need about your pre-hires. With PreSearch, you can select what data your business requires, and we will run a thorough, accurate Minnesota background check for you. Furthermore, PreSearch is fully versed on all the state, local and federal laws for background check for trusted employees. Therefore, you can rest assured that your pre-screening information is accurate and conducted by the letter of the law. So, if you’re looking for an affordable, accurate Minnesota background check, make sure to give PreSearch a try today.
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