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While recent upheavals across the nation have wreaked havoc on employers and employees alike, Oklahoma still enjoys a healthy job market. In fact, according to the US Congress Joint Economic Committee, the state of Oklahoma added roughly 46,000 new payroll jobs, and 500 private payroll jobs were added as of August 2022. Considering these promising statistics, it’s no wonder that the Sooner State is attracting qualified workers who are relocating to the state for better employment prospects.
While the state might be alluring for prospective employees, employers are under more pressure now today than ever before to suss out the best candidates for their business or volunteer vacancies. This is when an Oklahoma background check can be invaluable. If you are a hiring manager, employer, or volunteer organization seeking trustworthy and qualified workers, you should read this in-depth information about conducting a background check in Oklahoma and why it’s crucial to do so.
Why Look To PreSearch for Your Background Checks
Getting the all-encompassing information you need to hire the right candidate for your business or volunteer organization can be complicated, confusing, and overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be. With PreSearch, we make the pre-hire process seamless and easy. Simply reach out to us and apprise us of your needs, and our experts can return current, accurate results – in many cases, with an impressive turnaround time.
What’s more, we conduct all of our background checks within the full letter of the law, so you never have to worry about compliance issues with state and federal regulations. With all the responsibilities you face every day, PreSearch is your best solution for making your work and life easier. Ultimately, PreSearch provides you peace of mind because we give you the right tools, resources, and data so you can make the right hiring choices for the future of your business.
What Are Background Checks Exactly?
A background check can mean many things depending upon what type your organization needs. For instance, an Oklahoma criminal background check looks a lot different than a credit check or verification of employment. Nevertheless, the overarching commonality all background checks share is the end-purpose of confirming and verifying an applicant is qualified for the job positions offered. Furthermore, a background check is designed to reveal key information about an applicant in order to assess if he or she is who they say they are and can be trusted to work within your organization.
How Can I Get a Background Check In Oklahoma?
Your best plan of attack in obtaining a fully compliant and comprehensive Oklahoma background check is to utilize reliable background check services, such as you will find with PreSearch. Our professional experts make background checks in Oklahoma simple, quick, and easy. Moreover, we can provide you with all the information you need without having to hunt down different sources – and we do it all in full compliance with state and federal laws.
However, if you want to get a background check in Oklahoma on your own, you can submit a request to the OK State Bureau of Investigation. The Bureau has a database of individuals who have criminal records. You can request this information either online or by mail. If you are a hiring manager in the education system, you can request criminal background checks from the Oklahoma State Department of Education.
If you choose to take on the exhaustive task of background checks independently, you should know that these state-generated criminal records will only show infractions committed in the state of Oklahoma. This means you will not attain criminal history if your applicant might have committed a crime in other states, or internationally.
Why Should Oklahoma Employers Conduct Background Checks?
There are a myriad of reasons that confirm getting background checks on applicants during the pre-hire process is a good idea. Most importantly, a background check can verify an applicant’s identity – essentially informing you the applicant is who he or she claims to be. Secondly, the screening process can confirm the applicant has indeed received adequate education, training or experience for the job by verifying education and employment history.
When you consider that an applicant (if granted the job) has access to sensitive information such as business material, financial data, etc. – employers should make every effort to ensure those assets are protected by getting background checks. Furthermore, if your potential new-hire might be associating with vulnerable populations such as children or the elderly, that’s all the more reason to get a thorough background check to confirm the applicant can be relied upon and trusted.
What Is Unique About Background Checks in Oklahoma?
In addition to abiding by federal laws and regulations during the pre-hire process, it’s crucial to understand specific state laws when screening applicants. For instance, Oklahoma requires that employers must individually assess applicants should they have a criminal history. This means that employers must determine if the criminal history is in direct conflict with the employment position for which the applicant might be hired. If this is the case, Oklahoma employers are required to prove that the criminal charges on an applicant’s record justify denial of the job position.
If an employer determines an applicant’s criminal activity is justifiably cause for denying employment, the employer must then provide the applicant with a pre-adverse action notice. This is a written document that notifies the applicant that explains the refusal of employment based on an Oklahoma criminal background check conducted on the applicant.
The pre-adverse action notice must include the specifics of the conviction that are in conflict with the job position and a copy of the conviction report. Additionally, the pre-adverse action notice must give a reasonable deadline for the applicant to have the opportunity to explain, clarify, or justify the criminal charges. Essentially OK employers must give the applicant a chance to defend themselves in an attempt to vie for the job position.
Let’s say an applicant has pleaded his or her case against the criminal background check in Oklahoma by the specified deadline in the pre-adverse action notice. But, as an employer, you still decide to decline employment. In this case, a final adverse action notice must be sent to the applicant. This formal, final notice lays out the details as to why the applicant was denied employment. According to Oklahoma hiring regulations, the final adverse action notice must also include verbiage about the applicant’s right to challenge the final denial as well as his or her right to request reconsideration for employment.
While all this might sound very bureaucratic, it’s essential to comply with the Oklahoma criminal background check laws. It might provide some solace to know there are some conditions that Oklahoma employers can absolutely refuse employment to an applicant. For instance, if an applicant clearly lies or inordinately embellishes so-called facts on his or her application or resume. If your organization requires a pre-hire drug test and the applicant fails it – that is also grounds for disqualification of employment.
How the Background Check Process Works in Oklahoma
As mentioned, you can DIY a background check by submitting a request to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. After receipt of your request, the state will pull any kind of criminal history your applicant may have and send it back to you. Bear in mind, this report will only show criminal activity that took place in the state of OK – it will not show infractions committed (if any) in other states or internationally.
The most convenient way to go about a background check in Oklahoma is to use a trusted, reliable third-party provider such as PreSearch. In this scenario, all you need to do is reach out to us, tell us what kind of screenings you require, and we’ll do all the work for you.
Oklahoma Background Check Laws
Another advantage of using PreSearch is that we are current and well-versed in federal laws as well as state of Oklahoma laws. That means when you opt to have background checks in Oklahoma done by PreSearch, our reports will be conducted in full compliance with state and federal regulations. Here are a few background check laws every employer should be aware of when moving forward with the pre-hire screening process.
Does Oklahoma Have a Ban the Box Law?
Yes. The so-called “ban-the-box” law prohibits employers from asking questions about any criminal activity in an applicant’s past. This was mandated in 2016 via Executive Order 1023. This law bans the box that was previously shown on applicants that inquired, “Have you been arrested of a felony?” or verbiage along those lines. The law also prohibits verbal questioning about past criminal activity before the interviewing process begins.
Fair Credit Reporting Act
Also known as FCRA, this is a federal law that is enforced and governed by the Federal Trade Commission. The Act was set into motion as a way to preserve and protect consumers (your applicants) privacy when a credit report is run. It regulates how financial and credit information is acquired, reported and disseminated by consumer reporting agencies. The act also governs how employers can use applicant credit information in the pre-hiring process. Furthermore, if a credit check is done, the applicant must be notified in writing of this fact, and the applicant must sign that they fully understand a credit report will be conducted on them.
Title VII of the Civil Rights
This is another federal law that protects applicants’ rights. Title VII is part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and represents a strong stance against discrimination. The law is regulated by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and it is one of the most crucial laws to abide by as an employer in the US.
Essentially, Title VII of the Civil Rights act prohibits employers from denying applicants employment based on gender, sex, religion, political affiliation, etc. It also dissuades employers from making snap judgments against declining employment to applicants based on criminal history.
Employers Pay for Drug and Alcohol Testing
In some instances, such as with a trusted employees background check, an employer may require a drug or alcohol screening test on pre-hires. This is a logical and practical request, especially if potential employees are working with vulnerable populations such as the elderly or with children. It’s also a reasonable request if part of the applicant’s job function will be driving, using heavy equipment, or will be in direct contact with controlled substances.
Oklahoma employers must notify applicants they are subject to a drug or alcohol test prior to the screening. That said, according to Oklahoma state law 40-556, the employer is responsible for paying for drug and alcohol testing. However, if an employee requests a copy of the drug/alcohol screening, he or she is responsible for paying for that copy.
Employers Pay for Pre-Employment Medical Screening
As an employer in Oklahoma, you are permitted to conduct a pre-hire medical screening if the job position requires it. However, if this type of testing is required, the employer is responsible for paying the full cost of medical screenings on applicants. Furthermore, the employer must give the applicant a copy of the medical screening results within 30 days of testing.l
Employers Can’t Request Social Media Information
Oklahoma law has had to scramble to accommodate the ever-changing landscape of the internet and social media. As an answer to this, under Oklahoma state statute 40-173.2, employers are prohibited from asking applicants or employees for the social media usernames, passwords or access to their accounts. Furthermore, employers cannot ask to be in the presence of applicants or employees while they access their social accounts. Additionally, employers cannot demand to be “friends” or be “liked” by applicants or employees. With this in mind, an employer can request access to an employee’s social media activity if he or she has used social media on the company’s internet or equipment if the need for investigation of this social media material is required.
Employers Can’t Inquire About Sealed or Expunged Records
As with most states, expunged records are inaccessible to employers. According to Oklahoma stat. 22.-19, hiring managers cannot ask applicants about any information that has become sealed or expunged by the state. Furthermore, an applicant cannot be denied employment if he or she denies any criminal activity (if asked) if that activity has been sealed from the record or expunged.
What Generally Shows up on an Oklahoma Background Check?
When you use PreSearch, you have a diverse variety of information at your command, because we provide you with an impressive array of different background checks. That means a broad-spectrum of information can show up on an Oklahoma background check when you opt to partner with PreSearch. However, if you opt for state-issued background checks, you will only receive criminal records that took place in the state of Oklahoma.
Whatever tact you choose to take with Oklahoma background check, you should receive the basics. These essential details include, verification of identity, employment history, and educational background confirmation. You can also review Oklahoma criminal background check details such as felonies, misdemeanors (that have not been expunged or sealed), pending criminal cases, civil judgments. You may also conduct a search on the national sex offender registry, check out motor vehicle reports for infractions, review prison records, and determine if an applicant has been placed on the Domestic Terrorist Watchlist.
How Long Does a Background Check Take in Oklahoma?
Would it surprise you that you could have a full identity verification, educational history check, employment history, and criminal background check in Oklahoma within the span of a day? In some instances, you can have all this information at your fingertips within an hour. That is, if you use a professional, fast background check service such as PreSearch.
Alternatively, if you opt to do background checks yourself, or dole the task to your human resources department – the length of time to gather, organize, collect and process background information could take days – or worse – weeks. The reason for this is that gathering all this information is incredibly time-consuming. Making calls to previous employers or educational institutions takes an arduous amount of time. Furthermore state-issued criminal background checks are slow in coming, and can take days or weeks to get results.
How Far Back Does Oklahoma Go Back for Background Checks?
As with most states in the US, the standard lookback time for background checks in Oklahoma is seven years. This is due to FCRA mandates, which adhere to a seven-year timeframe when it comes to doing background checks on applicants. This timeframe does not apply if an applicant may earn $75,000 or more per year in salary. In this instance, a credit report or background check may look past the seven-year limit.
Additionally, criminal convictions can extend beyond the seven-year period, as long as the records are not sealed or expunged. The same holds true for employment history, and educational background which can look back prior to the standard seven-year period.
How Much Can a Background Check Cost in Oklahoma?
*a select number of states charge an additional, mandatory, county court fee in addition to our standard service fee.
If you are conducting checks through the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, the fee is $15 for a name-based check and an additional $19 for a fingerprint-based background check per each applicant report.
The cost of obtaining additional background information can be extensive in terms of payroll hours. This is because, as mentioned, gathering all the information required to conduct a thorough and comprehensive check can be extremely time-consuming. Consequently, you could be spending a lot of money on HR salaries to get the information required during the pre-hire process.
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