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When it comes to hiring new employees, making sure you have the right people on your team is crucial. After all, your staff represents your business and can make or break its success. That’s why conducting a New York background check is so important.
With this in mind, this guide to obtaining background checks in the Empire State will help you determine the right employee or volunteer for your organization. We’ve also included details such as how long it takes, what shows up, and how to do a criminal background check in NY – all while staying compliant with federal and state laws.
How PreSearch Can Help With Background Check Services in New York
In today’s world, background checks have become an essential part of the hiring process. It is paramount to safeguard your business or volunteer organization by verifying the credibility of your potential employees.
With PreSearch’s help, you can trust that your business will remain safe and secure from any undesirable elements lurking in the shadows. Contact us today for all your New York State background check needs!
What is a Background Check?
A background check is an inquiry into a person’s past to determine if they have any criminal or suspicious activities that could pose a risk to the employer. Additionally, a New York State background check should also include vital details such as verification of an applicant’s identity, confirmation of their work experience, and validation of educational history.
Importance of New York State Background Checks
Did you know that a whopping 75% of applicants in the US have admitted to fibbing on their resume or application when applying for a job? Given this, it’s clear that background checks are extremely important to ensure you’re hiring or recruiting an individual that is exactly who they claim to be.
An employer who fails to conduct a background check risks onboarding individuals with questionable backgrounds or falsified credentials. Such employees may pose a security risk or damage the company’s reputation if found out later on.
In reality, these risks can be eliminated altogether by partnering with services for background checks, such as PreSearch. We make the vital pre-screening process simple and easy – plus, we can save you a lot of potential woes by ensuring you’re compliant with state and federal laws.
New York Background Check Laws
If you live, work, or conduct business in New York, you’re probably familiar that the Empire State tends to be highly regulated. So, it should come as no surprise that the state has specific laws that govern background checks for employment.
Moreover, employers in NY must also comply with federal background check laws. Here are a few overarching state and federal regulations that every employer or recruiter should be aware of while conducting background screenings.
Federal Laws on Employment Background Checks
There are several federal laws in place to protect job seekers from discrimination and ensure the accuracy of the information gathered. These laws are also meant to protect employers too. Here are a few federal laws you should familiarize yourself with while conducting background checks on applicants.
Civil Rights Act, Title VII
The Civil Rights Act is a federal law that was put into place in 1964 to protect individuals from discrimination based on religion, race, color, sex, national origin, and other characteristics. In short, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee or job applicant during any phase of employment. The EEOC enforces this law by investigating complaints of discrimination filed by employees and job applicants.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
The FCRA is a federal law that regulates how credit information is collected, distributed and used. This act requires employers to follow specific rules when conducting background checks on job applicants.
Under the FCRA, employers must obtain written consent from job candidates before conducting a background check. They must also provide candidates with a disclosure statement explaining their rights under this law.
Additionally, if an employer decides not to hire someone based on information obtained through a background check, they must provide the candidate with a copy of the report and an explanation for why they were not hired.
New York Employment Background Check Laws
Now that we’ve covered some of the landmark federal laws involved with conducting background checks, let’s take a look at the most noteworthy New York State laws regarding investigating an applicant’s past history.
The New York State Human Rights Law
This law consists of regulations that prohibit discrimination based on race, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, or disability – among other characteristics. Under the NYSHRL, it is illegal for employers to use information obtained from a background check as a discriminatory tool against any applicant or employee based on their protected characteristics.
The New York Correction Law
This law governs the use of criminal records in employment decisions. Under this law, employers must take certain steps to ensure that they are not unfairly discriminating against job candidates on the basis of their criminal history. Additionally, the New York Correction Law defines which offenses cannot be considered when conducting a criminal record check.
Article 23A of the New York Correction Law instructs employers to consider surrounding circumstances if an applicant has a criminal record, such as the age at which the crime was committed, the time elapsed since conviction, and if rehabilitation was pursued by the applicant before denying employment.
What Happens if You Fail to Comply With New York Background Check Laws?
Failure to comply with the aforementioned regulations can result in severe penalties, including fines and lawsuits – not to mention potentially damaging your business reputation. Furthermore, neglecting to comply with state and federal laws can expose your business to legal action, which can be time-consuming and costly. In short, abide by the laws. Otherwise, your business could be subject to exorbitant fines, litigation, and a marred reputation.
Types of Background Checks in New York
When it comes to conducting a New York background check, there are several types of screenings that employers can choose from depending on their needs. Firstly, employers can obtain a criminal record check in New York. Secondly, hiring managers or recruiters can get an employment background check. Here are some details about these two critical types of pre-screening checks.
Criminal Background Checks
As mentioned, NY employers can (and should) obtain criminal background information to clarify an applicant’s past history. In some instances, such as government, law enforcement, and some healthcare positions – a background check for trusted employees is required.
Employment Background Checks
Employment verification ensures that the applicant has provided accurate information about their work experience and employment history. This type of New York background check should also provide confirmation about an applicant’s education. Employment background screenings may check on personal references.
How to Get a Background Check in New York
In the Empire State, employers or recruiters can get a criminal background check by submitting a request for records from the New York State Police Division of Criminal Justice Services or by requesting criminal records from the NY Office of Court Administration.
Bear in mind, however, that these reports will only provide criminal activity. They will not reveal other details such as education or employment background information. Moreover, these state-generated records will not show any criminal activity that may have been committed in other states or countries.
How Long Does a Background Check Take in New York?
If you choose to go the DIY route, you can expect a lengthy turnaround time when doing background checks on your own. Checking references, contacting previous employers, validating educational history – that all takes a lot of time that can deplete your human resource department manhours.
Plus, state-generated criminal records are typically slow to process. Some institutions, such as the New York Office of Court Administration, claim to deliver criminal records within 24-72 hours. However, the NY State Police reports can take several days or up to a week to produce.
With this in mind, your best option is to partner with quick background check services such as with PreSearch. Our cutting-edge technology and significant resources allow us to provide you with the results you need far more quickly than if you do checks on your own or go through state institutions.
How Far Back Does an Employment Background Check Go in NY?
So, how far back do employment background checks go in NY? Great question. The state of New York abides by the seven-year lookback standards established by the FCRA. This means that credit and criminal information prior to seven years at the time a background check is initiated will not be reported.
That said, there are some caveats. If an applicant stands to earn $75,000 or more in a job position, then the background check can go back further than the FCRA seven-year lookback period. Additionally, certain information such as educational, employment history, or character references may be investigated beyond seven years.
What Can Be Found in a New York Background Check?
Criminal records will reveal details such as the date of arrest, charges, case number(s), disposition, and dates. They will also reveal sentencing details (if any) and the severity of offenses, whether it was a felony or misdemeanor.
Other information on a standard New York background check will show employment and educational history. Credit checks will reveal collections history, bankruptcies, civil lawsuits, or liens.
Cost of New York Background Checks
A service fee of $95 must be paid to the NY Office of Court Administration for each criminal background check request. And if you add up all the man hours consumed when doing pre-screen checks in-house, you’re looking at a significant expense.
Alternatively, our background check services can provide you with the reports you need quickly and affordably. When you consider all the time you can save by relying on our professional team, then it’s clear that PreSearch is the best value for your background check needs.
*a select number of states charge an additional, mandatory, county court fee in addition to our standard service fee.
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