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Currently, Utah state’s unemployment rate is 1.7% less than the national average. In fact, according to the Utah Department of Workforce Services, the state has added over 50,000 jobs since 2021, which is a 3.4% increase from the previous year. With these promising statistics in mind, the Beehive state is becoming a very attractive location for qualified individuals seeking employment.
As an employer, this is great news. It means you can be more selective about candidates applying for work within your organization. It also means you have a more diverse supply of potential applicants when meeting the demands of your business or volunteer organization.
On the other hand, the pre-hire screening process is fraught with potential challenges. From the need to confirm identity and check for criminal activity to verifying past employment and education – the importance of getting a Utah background check on your applicants is crucial.
As a hiring manager, employer, or volunteer administrator obtaining Utah background checks is critical in order to ensure you are hiring the right individual as well as protecting your organization from potential problems down the road.
While background checks can be incredibly valuable in determining the right candidate, it’s also important to understand how background checks in Utah are conducted. For instance, in terms of conducting a criminal background check, Utah has some very specific state regulations. Federal laws must also be adhered to in order to avoid litigation, violations, penalties, or fines. Considering this, here are a few essential things every Utah employer should know when obtaining a background check in the state.
Why Look To PreSearch for Background Check Services in Utah
When you are seeking the right employee, you simply cannot leave your decision to hire up to chance. With PreSearch, we provide all the vital information you need right at your fingertips – and we do this within the letter of local, county, state and federal laws. PreSearch background check services give you peace of mind, because you know you are getting current, precise information on your applicants. Moreover, our skilled professionals understand every industry, and pre-screening requirements for each. So whether you have a volunteer organization, hiring for a medical or educational facility, or a hiring manager for a business – PreSearch can deliver the precise results you need with a significantly faster turnaround time than other methods.
What Are Background Checks?
Quite simply, a background check includes a series of processes that looks into the past history of a potential candidate applying for a job. They are intended to confirm identity and verify the applicant is who he or she says they are.
Moreover, background checks are useful in confirming an applicant’s claims about past employment and educational history. In addition to confirming identity, past employment and education, background checks in Utah may also include elements such as criminal history, credit check, and more.
How to Get a Background Check in Utah
The easiest and most effective way to obtain comprehensive and accurate data on pre-hires is to obtain services for background checks through a reputable company such as PreSearch. While it’s true that employers can go through state agencies to gather background information, this data isn’t all-inclusive, and it can also be time-consuming to acquire. Moreover, not all employers are qualified to request background data from the state.
To elaborate, employers who are hiring to fill vacancies pertaining to certain fields such as, national security, local government, working with children, or vulnerable adults, or adoption agencies, are qualified to request background records through the Utah Department of Public Safety. If your business or organization does not meet these criteria, you should request background checks be provided by the applicant. If the applicant is unable to produce their own background check, you may be able to access limited information through the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing (DOPL). You may also submit a request to the Utah Department of Corrections for criminal histories on pre-hires.
That said, none of these government-based agencies will provide you with the broad spectrum of information required to get the big picture of an applicant’s past history. To explain, if you request information from any of the aforementioned state agencies, you are only getting a slice of information.
For instance, criminal records issued from the state will only reveal criminal activity committed in the state of Utah – it will not show any nationwide or international infractions. Similarly, requesting information from the DOPL will only confirm whether or not an applicant has a license to perform a job function and the current status (active, revoked or inactive) of that license.
Because these Utah-issued background checks are far from comprehensive, you should rely on a third-party background check service such as PreSearch. Our qualified and experienced professionals can gather extensive information ranging from identity verification, criminal history, education, and licensing status, personal reference checks, and more such as name, social security, and address tracing.
We provide you with a buffet of background choices, which pales in comparison with state-issued information. Moreover, we give you everything you need in an extensive report. That means no more hunting and gathering information or waiting for responses – PreSearch makes your background checks in Utah easy and effortless.
Federal Laws on Employment Background Checks
Utah employers and hiring managers must comply with both state and federal laws when conducting background checks. Failure to abide by pre-hire rules and regulations could result in expensive fines, or even litigation.
One of the most critical federal laws Utah employers should heed is the FCRA, which is known as the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Passed in 1970, this Act is meant to protect consumers (in this case, applicants) from privacy violations when it comes to credit reporting. For instance, the Act governs how consumer-applicant information is gathered, retained, and used.
Another federal hiring law is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Title VII was enacted in 1964 by the federal government as overseen by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The Act expressly prohibits hiring, firing, or denying employment to any individual based on certain characteristics such as religion, race, gender, political affiliation, etc.
State Background Check Laws in Utah
Whether you are conducting a basic employment history verification, or a criminal background check, Utah has specific regulations that must be followed during the screening and pre-hire process. According to Utah hiring laws, applicants and candidates should obtain their own background checks if the employer requires this. If an applicant wishes, he or she also has the option to give a potential employer permission to have a background check conducted upon them (in case they cannot or do not want to provide their own background check information to their prospective employer). Once an applicant provides a potential employer with a release form, the hiring organization is permitted to use a third-party background check service to obtain the information about the applicant.
In 2017, the state of Utah passed a ban-the-box law, which prohibits government employers from asking applicants about any criminal history or record until they have granted them an official interview. Without an interview, employers are not permitted to ask about any potential criminal activity until after a conditional offer of employment is granted to an applicant.
Criminal Investigations and Technical Services Act
The Criminal Investigations and Technical Services Act is a state law that permits only a certain type of hiring organization to obtain a criminal background check in Utah. Under this law, employers in the private sector are permitted to run FBI criminal background screenings, but are not allowed to request county or state criminal history records. Some private businesses such as employers that deal with vulnerable populations (elderly and children) or employers whose work involves national security may be permitted to obtain a Utah state background check.
However, employers can obtain criminal information by asking applicants to produce their own criminal records. Private employers in Utah can also obtain criminal information by providing applicants a waiver in writing which must be signed and authorized by the state. This gives the employer or a third-party background check service the written authorization and permission to obtain criminal background information on the applicant.
While Utah employers may obtain criminal histories, they are not permitted to unfairly judge criminal history on the basis of granting or denying employment to applicants. Therefore, arrest records should not be included in an employer background check. This “limited criminal history” access is a state regulation that is meant to prohibit employers from making judgments according to an arrest record that could dissuade employers from hiring applicants.
What Shows Up on Background Check in Utah?
When obtaining a Utah background check, hiring managers and employers have several options available as to what type of information shows up from a pre-hire screening. For instance, a standard background check can verify details such as, identity, employment, and education. Other information in standard background checks can include information about an applicant’s driving record, credit history, and/or civil records.
A criminal history is a collection of any kind of illegal activities that have resulted in being recorded, such as convictions, felonies or arrests. A criminal history is also known as a rap sheet in layman’s terms. Criminal history can be obtained by local and state law enforcement agencies. For example, an employer or an applicant can request criminal record information from the Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Identification. If there is criminal activity on this report, it will show details such as the date of arrest, the criminal case number, types of charges (if any), severity of the charge (whether it is a felony or a misdemeanor) and the sentence delivered for the charges.
Employment history should detail the various jobs an applicant has held. It should also include how long the individual has worked there and the position held. In some instances, employment history may include whether or not an individual was promoted or demoted in any given position, and sometimes employment history may also include salary history. An employer can verify employment by contacting each previous employer listed by the candidate on his or her application or resume. Employers may also contact the Utah Division of Human Resource Management which may provide employment history if an employer is registered with their Employee Resource Information Center (ERIC).
As you might surmise, getting confirmation about an applicant’s education history is critical in determining if he or she is qualified for the position offered. It’s also an important aspect in confirming the degrees, education, licenses, etc, the applicant claims to have earned have indeed been achieved by the applicant. Employers can confirm education history and qualifications by contacting the learning institutions the applicant provides on his or her resume or application. Employers may also be able to request a transcript from certain education institutions.
How Many Years Back Does a Background Check go in Utah?
Based on the federal standards as mandated by the FCRA the limit of time a background check can go is 7 years. However, this 7-year lookback period does not apply if an applicant could stand to earn $75,000 or more if awarded the position of employment. Except for this caveat, the 7-year lookback period is sufficient for most employers in Utah, and it also complies with federal guidelines.
How Much Does a Background Check Cost in Utah?
*a select number of states charge an additional, mandatory, county court fee in addition to our standard service fee.
If you opt to go the DIY (do it yourself) route for a Utah background check, the expenses can add up quickly. Utah state-issued criminal background reports can cost $15 per report if obtained through the Utah Department of Public Safety. Educational institutions charge a fee to retrieve transcripts, and these fees vary per institution. There are also fees associated with obtaining reports through Utah’s public records systems. Additionally, when you tally all the man hours it takes to gather, track down, and request information – the payroll hours can accumulate to a high cost. The most cost-effective way to get an array of accurate background checks in Utah is to use a reliable background check service such as PreSearch.
How Long Does it Take to Complete a Background Check in Utah?
The DIY tactic to obtain pre-hire history reports can be time-consuming. It can take days or weeks to receive state or government-issued background checks. If you require data from other facilities such as learning institutions, or public records, there is no guarantee these reports will be returned to you in a timely manner.
Your best option is to use PreSearch’s fast background check service. Our qualified professionals can render accurate, diverse, and comprehensive background reports significantly faster than going through local, state, county, or governmental sources. Our reports are thorough and expedient, as well as conducting in full compliance with state and federal laws.
And if you’re tempted to use one of those “free background check services” advertised online, try to resist the temptation. More often than not, these so-called free background check providers use unsavory practices to obtain data. Even more unsettling is that the data on these free reports is almost always inaccurate, out-of-date, or not obtained by legal methods.
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