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Tennessee has been the nation’s best kept secret when it comes to running a business in the state. In fact, it’s been ranked one of the top 10 best places to own a business, find employment, or establish a volunteer organization. The reason for this is varied, but most agree that the Volunteer State has enviable tax rates for corporations, as well as many low-cost amenities for job-seeking employees. While all that’s a coup for Tennessee’s growth and expansion, what should employers and administrators know about Tennessee background check laws and procedures? If you run a volunteer organization or are an employer, here are the facts you need to know about properly and legally conducting background checks in Tennessee.
What is a Background Check?
Aside from it being one of your biggest assets in hiring the right people for your organization, a Tennessee background check is a process in which fact-checking is done on an applicant to ensure he or she is qualified and appropriate for the job. Done properly, a background check should provide you with the big picture of a candidate’s work history, educational background, as well as criminal history. In terms of enhancing the hiring process, a background check in Tennessee can inform employers about the critical details of an applicant – including verification of identification.
Importance of Background Checks in Tennessee
As an employer or recruiter, imagine sifting through a pile of applications or resumes. Then ask yourself, “How do I really know all this information is really the truth?” The sad fact is that 78% of applicants over-embellish their resumes, and according to a report from CNBC, around 55% of applicants fib on their applications. In light of these sobering statistics, can you really afford to trust everything you read on an application without doing the prerequisite fact-checking? When you consider the success, longevity, and well-being of your establishment are directly influenced by your employees or volunteers – the answer is clear. You need top-quality background check services on your side to get the information you need to make fact-based decisions about hiring or recruiting the right candidate for your organization.
Types of Background Checks in Tennessee
When it comes to doing a background check, Tennessee employers and recruiters have choices. And now that we’ve covered what they are and why a Tennessee background check is so important, let’s talk a bit about the different types of checks you can conduct on your applicants.
Criminal Background Checks
A Tennessee criminal background check is extremely useful and sometimes required for certain job positions. For example, if you are hiring for a position that requires the applicant to work with children or the elderly, or in a medical facility where an applicant might have access to controlled substances – getting a criminal background check in TN is standard practice.
Employment Background Checks
Even if a Tennessee criminal background check isn’t a requirement, employers and recruiters are strongly urged to do general pre-screens on applicants. General employment background checks provide information such as employment history, experience background, education history, and much more. These checks are essential when determining if an applicant is qualified for the job. They are also critical in confirming an applicant’s identification.
How to Get a Background Check in Tennessee
There are several ways to get a background check in Tennessee. Some methods are more ideal than others. As an employer or recruiter, you can opt to go through the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), which is the main repository for criminal history information. TBI will provide information obtained through TN public records. The information you will receive from this background check will only include information such as convictions, misdemeanors, and felony arrests.
That said, the state TBI-generated report information is extremely limited, and it can take some time for you to receive results. Alternatively, if you partner with the professionals at PreSearch, we can provide you with an array of details, including nationwide and international criminal history, educational background, employment history, and much more.
How Long Does a Background Check Take in Tennessee
Again, that depends upon the route you take to obtain a Tennessee background check. If you opt to go the DIY route, you can expect to spend hours pouring through public records, making phone calls to educational institutions, and contacting previous employers to confirm an applicant’s information.
Opting for a Tennessee criminal background check can be equally arduous and time-consuming. Very often, these state-generated criminal reports take days or sometimes up to a week to process. And as we mentioned, you’re not even getting all the vital data you need from these reports.
Considering these potential delays, your smartest, best option is to get fast and quick background checks from an experienced provider such as PreSearch. We can provide you with a full-spectrum background check covering all manner of details you need to make your best hiring choice. Even better, we can do this in a fraction of the time it would take for your staff or the TBI to do. In many cases, we can provide you with a comprehensive TN background check on the same day.
How Far Back Does an Employment Background Check Go in Tennessee
The state of Tennessee is governed by the Federal Credit Reporting Act when it comes to the time limit for looking into pre-hire histories. This standard lookback period is seven years. There are some exceptions to this time limit, however. For instance, if the position could earn the applicant $75,000 or more – then the employer is allowed to look back into an applicant’s background beyond the seven-year mark. Furthermore, certain types of information, such as educational history and employment history, do not have a time limit, so an employer or a recruiter can look past the seven-year standard to gain insight into these areas.
Tennessee Background Check Laws
By now, you’re beginning to get a good overview of the ins and outs of background checks in Tennessee. But what about TN background check laws? Here are some details on the prominent state and federal laws all employers and recruiters should be familiar with while going through the pre-screen process.
Federal Laws on Employment Background Checks
As a business or volunteer organization, abiding by state laws is a must when hiring new employees. But adhering to federal laws is just as important. In fact, failure to comply with federal laws could result in devastating penalties that could set your organization back in crippling ways. That said, here are some important federal laws of which you should be aware.
Civil Rights Act, Title VII
This act was Introduced at the height of the civil rights movement in 1964 under the Kennedy administration. Title VII is instrumental in ensuring candidates are treated fairly and have the best chance of receiving employment regardless of characteristics that are commonly discriminated against, such as race, color, gender, sexuality, etc.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
This act was passed in 1970, and is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The act is meant to ensure the privacy of consumers when a credit report is conducted on them. For employers, this means that the FCRA regulates how a credit check is done on pre-hires. Specifically, this act strictly governs how credit information is gathered from individuals as well as how that information is used and distributed.
Tennessee Employment Background Check Laws
In addition to federal laws, it’s important for Tennessee business owners and volunteer administrators to understand how the laws work for the pre-screening process in their own state. Here are a few main state laws that are important to know when doing background checks in Tennessee.
Tennessee is one of 37 states in the nation that enforces a ban-the-box law. This law refers to the box that, in the past, was printed on an application and prompted applicants to check the box in the event they have activity on their criminal record. In an effort to stimulate employment and reduce unemployment rates, the ban-the-box law was established. The law prohibits employers from asking candidates to divulge if they have criminal history during the initial application process.
Tennessee Social Media Check Law
It might be tempting for employers to check an applicant’s social media account to get more information about them, but in the state of Tennessee, this equates to breaking the law. According to TN legal code 50-1-1003, employers are not permitted to ask applicants to reveal any information on their social media accounts. Employers are also prohibited from asking for passwords to access applicants’ social networks. In other words, demanding access to pre-hire social media is against the law in Tennessee.
How Much is a Background Check in Tennessee
At the time of this writing, if you want to obtain a basic criminal background check, TN charges $29 for each request to the TBI. This might sound reasonable at first. However, when you realize that all you are getting is criminal background information in the state of Tennessee – and nothing else – you might rethink the cost.
The smart choice is to use a professional background check service like PreSearch. Why? Because we give you the full gamut of information you require to make the best hiring decision possible. Our services are cost-effective because we provide comprehensive, timely, and accurate information you simply cannot find anywhere else.
*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 Tennessee
After reading all of this information on the laws and elements of obtaining a Tennessee background check, it should be clear that it’s not always the easiest endeavor. It might also be clear that the pre-screening process can be time-consuming and arduous. Let PreSearch make your work life easier. We can put all the information on your pre-hires right in the palm of your hands. We do this quickly and affordably so that you can run your business or volunteer organization seamlessly. Moreover, we provide you peace of mind knowing that you get the most up-to-date information, so you don’t have to worry about getting the data you need to hire the perfect individuals for your vacancies.
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