Missouri Background Check

Missouri Background Check

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The state of Missouri enjoys a lot of enviable perks when it comes to attracting qualified employees.  The state is family-friendly, affordable to live in, and it’s also a great place for remote workers. What’s more, Forbes 100 cited three companies in Missouri as the top three places to work.  

In light of all this, the state is positioned to lure in well-qualified workers.  That’s good news for you, if you are an employer, hiring manager or volunteer administrator looking for the right people to fill vacancies.  However, no matter how ideal a candidate might be, every hiring organization should conduct a Missouri background check to confirm an applicant’s information.  With this in mind, here are some things all hiring managers and administrators should consider when getting a background check in Missouri.

How PreSearch Can Help

When you need the most up-to-date, accurate and comprehensive information on your applicants, PreSearch is your ultimate solution.  We are committed to providing your organization with complete details with fast turnaround times.  Moreover, we have a buffet of different types of background checks so you can get a broad-spectrum view of your applicants. By using PreSearch, you know that you have the right information at hand to make the best hiring choices – all within strict compliance of state and federal laws.

What Exactly Is Background Check? 

A background check in Missouri is pretty much exactly what you might think it is.  A background check is meant to inform employers or volunteer organizations about the history of a potential candidate for a job or volunteer position.  The purpose of a background check is to confirm an applicant’s past history, as well as assess if a candidate is a right fit for the position being offered.

As with most states in the US, a Missouri state background check – at a minimum – should include applicant information such as employment history, educational background, and criminal history. Depending upon the position for which an applicant is being hired, more detailed information may be included in a background check. Essentially, a background check is instrumental in verifying that the applicant is who he or she is who they say they are, as well as confirming an applicant’s identity.  

How Can I Get a Background Check In Missouri? 

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If you’re wondering how to get a background check in Missouri, you can start by requesting a check through the Missouri State Highway Patrol Automated Criminal History System.  This will provide you with criminal activity an applicant may have on their record (if any).  Bear in mind, that this Missouri criminal background check will only reveal infractions committed in the state.  It will not disclose any criminal activity an applicant might have been involved with in other states, or internationally.

You might obtain additional information by getting in touch with the Missouri Court System, which offers online background checks through their Case Net System.  This is a name-based database that searches through the state of Missouri’s court records.  While this information can be helpful in the pre-hire process, the Case Net System isn’t always the most reliable.  To explain, some search results may cull individuals with similar names and may be unrelated to your particular applicant.  Furthermore, there are some municipal courts that do not participate in the Case Net System. Therefore, you might not be obtaining all the information you need when going this route.

As a hiring manager, you can try to do a Missouri background check yourself, by personally contacting an applicant’s previous employers, calling previous educational institutions, checking personal references, etc.  However, this could take a tremendous amount of manpower hunting down all these details.  Plus, it can take a long time to receive the information you’re trying to obtain either yourself or through state government institutions.  Moreover, in conducting a DIY background check, you might not be fully aware of state and federal laws governing how background checks are conducted.

With this in mind, your best option is to partner with professional background check services such as those offered at PreSearch.  We know the letter of the law in the state of Missouri, as well as federal laws.  That means all of your background checks will be fully compliant with federal and Missouri background check laws – which thus frees you from any potential liability.  Additionally, our professional experts have the resources at their disposal to get you fast, accurate, reliable results.  We can also provide you with a broad-scope of information, so the details you receive are not limited to just Missouri state.

The Importance for Missouri Employers to Conduct Background Checks

Perhaps the most important payoff in obtaining a background check in Missouri is peace of mind.  When you have all the accurate details in your hands, you can rest assured that your decision to award or deny employment to an applicant is based on faultless data and current information.  

What’s more, a background check can give you the insights you need to determine whether or not an applicant is trustworthy, qualified and capable of working within your organization.  If you think about it, you’re potentially hiring a virtual stranger to manage, care for, and operate within your business or volunteer organization.  Considering this, a background check is pivotal in making the best choice for your company or volunteer operations.

Is There Anything Unique About Background Checks in Missouri? 

Most states have commonalities when it comes to screening applicants during the pre-hire process.  However, it’s important to know about certain laws and regulations in Missouri when obtaining historical information on applicants.  

For instance, if you are an employer in Kansas City or St. Louis, or you are a hiring manager for an executive branch agency, you are not permitted to inquire about any criminal activity until later in the hiring process.  In other words, you cannot ask an applicant about criminal history until the applicant has been interviewed and it’s been determined that the applicant is a qualified choice for the job position. Even if you are hiring outside of Kansas City or St. Louis, you should still hold to the protocol to avoid stepping outside the law.

In the event you do discover an applicant has a criminal history, you must take this information under consideration as it relates or applies to the job position.  For instance, if the applicant has been convicted of embezzling, and the job position is for a cashier – this is clearly a conflict.  There are laws that prohibit denying a candidate a job based exclusively on a Missouri criminal background check. Therefore, an applicant must be thoroughly considered – even if he or she has a criminal history – before employment is denied.

If, after you thoroughly evaluate the criminal activity in relation to the job position, you determine the applicant is inappropriate for the job position – you need to provide the applicant with a pre-adverse action letter.  This is a written document that informs the applicant that he or she is being turned down for employment based on adverse information that was revealed in a background check. The letter must detail the negative information, as well as provide the applicant with a deadline for the applicant to provide evidence, clarify, or explain the criminal activity as well as show proof he or she has been fully rehabilitated.

Once you’ve provided the applicant with the pre-adverse action letter, and given him or her adequate time to prove their case, you still have the right to deny employment if you are not fully satisfied with the applicant’s response to the adverse action process.  If you still do not want to hire the applicant, you must send a formal and final adverse action letter to the applicant.  This final notification should include the name and contact information of the person or organization who conducted the background check on the applicant.  You must also include a copy of the rejected candidate’s rights under Missouri state law and the FCRA, along with the final adverse action letter.

How Background Checks in Missouri Work 

Missouri Background Check

As an employer in the state of Missouri, you have several different options regarding how you conduct background checks on potential new-hires.  You can go the DIY route, which, as we mentioned earlier, involves submitting requests to the State Highway Patrol Automated Criminal History System for a Missouri criminal background check.  You also have the option to request information through the Missouri Court Case Net System. Your best option is to use a reliable third-party background check service that can get you current, accurate results in a timely fashion – all while staying compliant with federal and Missouri background check laws. 

Missouri Background Check Laws

Speaking of compliance with Missouri state laws, here are a few overarching laws that all employers must abide by should a background check in Missouri be conducted independently.  Failure to comply with these laws could result in litigation by an applicant or penalties and fees imposed by the state or federal government upon the hiring organization.

Missouri Executive Order 16-04

As of 2016, the governor of Missouri signed Executive Order No. 16-04.  This is know as a “ban-the-box” law which is meant to reduce discrimination against hiring applicants with a criminal background.  This Executive Order prohibits hiring executive branch agencies from asking questions about criminal activity from applicants before a formal interview and evaluation has been done. 

Does Missouri Have a Ban the Box Law?

Yes, but it is not necessarily state-wide.  To explain, both Kansas City and St. Louis does have ban-the-box ordinances.  In St. Louis, under Ordinance 71074, employers with 10 or more employees are prohibited from asking about criminal information or requesting an applicant to divulge criminal activity on an application. This is to deter employers from denying employment to individuals with a criminal background.

In Kansas City, Ordinance 180034 works similarly.  The difference is that employers with 6 or more employees cannot ask applicants or require applicants to share information about potential background history before they have had a formal interview. 

Fair Credit Reporting Act 

This is a federal law that is crucial to abide by in the pre-hire process the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is meant to protect consumer rights and privacy when data is collected.  The Act also protects how this information is collected, retained and disclosed to employers by consumer reporting agencies. Additionally, this Act prohibits employers from conducting a credit check on applicants without giving them written notice first. If adverse information surfaces from the credit check, the employer must go through the FCRAs adverse action process before denying employment to the applicant in question.

Title VII of the Civil Rights 

This civil rights act was passed by the US federal government as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Act was established as a way to reduce or eradicate discriminating against applicants based on certain characteristics such as race, gender, religious affliation, etc.  Title VII mandates that employers cannot be selective about background checks based on membership of a particular or protected class within society.  Essentially, an employer cannot discriminate against an applicant, and must fully evaluate each applicant’s situation (including criminal activity) as it directly relates to the position offered to him or her.

Missouri Expungement Law

According to Missouri’s statute 610.140, if an individual proves to be convicted of certain misdemeanors or felonies, the applicant has the right to petition to the court and the county they were convicted in to have the expunged.  If the petition is approved, the individual’s criminal activity is sealed, and cannot be accessed by an employer during a criminal background check. Furthermore, if the candidate has an expunged criminal record, he or she reserves the right to deny having criminal activity if asked during the pre-hire process.

What Shows up on a Missouri Background Check? 

At the very least, a background check in Missouri should show employment verification, which verifies the applicant has worked with the past employers he or she claimed to work for on a resume or application.  A general background check should also include education background, and verify if the applicant has received the education, licensing, certifications, or degrees he or she has claimed on an application or resume.

If a criminal background check is conducted, various information will show up if the applicant has a criminal history.  Such details include the date of offense, type and level of offense, date of disposition and sentence information. 

A background check should also show verification of identity.  This type of report confirms the validity of an applicant’s social security number, legal name, and birth date.  All of these figures should match, which is a level of clarification that confirms an applicant’s identity.

There is additional information that can show up on a Missouri background check, and as an employer, you have the option to extend screenings to other areas such as conducting a sex offender registry check, credit checks, driving record checks, etc.

How Long Do Background Checks Take in Missouri? 

Missouri Background Check

The amount of time it takes to conduct a background check in Missouri and get results is contingent upon how you go about conducting the check.  For instance, if you choose to conduct checks independently, or have your human resource department conduct a check – this can take days, or more likely weeks to get results.  

The reason for this is because it takes a lot of time to collect, organize and track down the information you need for a comprehensive background check.  Furthermore, government agencies are not typically expedient when it comes to providing criminal background check results.  For a fast background check, your best option is to partner with a professional provider such as PreSearch.  In most cases, we can give you background check results within a day, or even a few short hours.  That is a striking time difference from waiting days or weeks for results.

How Far Back Does Missouri Go Back for Background Checks?

If you’re wondering how long does a background check take in Missouri, the lookback time for Missouri background checks is seven years.  Missouri’s expungement laws and the FCRA govern this seven-year term, and any information prior to seven years is inadmissible.  However, if an applicant stands to earn over $75,000 per year, the lookback period may go back further than seven years.   Therefore, information such as civil judgments, bankruptcies, non-conviction arrests, or civil judgments cannot be reported if they are older than seven years.

How Much Can Missouri Background Checks Cost?

*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.

If you opt to request a criminal Missouri state background check through the name-based Case Net System, the fee is $14.00 plus a convenience fee.  The fee is charged for each applicant you obtain a background check on.  The fee to obtain records from the Missouri State Highway Patrol is $41.75. Other government-sourced checks such as checking identity via a drivers license verification or MVR report can range from $3 – $10 per applicant.

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