Virginia Background Check

Virginia Background Check

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Why a Background Check Is Important in Virginia

As an employer in Virginia, you know background checks are crucial to obtain accurate background information about potential employees working for your company.  From confirming an applicant is qualified for the position, to ensuring that he or she can be trusted with their duties on the job – a background check in Virginia is critical for making the right decision for effectively staffing your company with the right employees.  

While all this might seem like common knowledge, you might not know the ins and outs of Virginia background check laws.  That’s where PreSearch’s services for background checks can be invaluable in the hiring process. We know all the details, regulations, and laws involved when it comes to conducting a compliant Virginia background check for employment.  To prove this point, here are some top considerations all VA employers should bear in mind whenever a background check in Virginia is performed on any potential employee. 

Why Look To PreSearch for Background Check Services in Virginia

Running a business or non-profit organization is rife with challenges, deadlines, and stressful factors. As a hiring entity, the last thing you need is another time-consuming chore to add to your neverending to-do list. What’s more, you likely can’t afford to take the time to brush up on Virginia state laws to ensure your hiring process is in compliance.

PreSearch is your ultimate solution for all your pre-hire, Virginia state background check needs. We leave nothing to chance when it comes to abiding by the law while conducting your pre-employee checks.  We also take the guesswork out of the process by providing you with fast, accurate, reliable, and compliant data.  PreSearch makes your life easier by equipping you with the information you need to make the best choice for hiring qualified, trustworthy personnel.

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FCRA

This is the Fair Credit Reporting Act that is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission. The FCRA was put into place in 1970 as a way to regulate and establish proper hiring practices in the US.  The function of FCRA is to protect applicant information.  Specifically, the act ensures consumer information provided by applicants is kept private, protected, and reported fairly and accurately.  In essence, the Fair Credit Reporting Act is the golden standard all employers must adhere to when collecting consumer information from applicants.

Additionally, the FCRA requires employers to give notice to all applicants that they will be subjected to a background check.  This means that candidates must receive a written notice that should be signed acknowledging that information will be collected in order to conduct a background check in Virginia for potential employment.

Furthermore, the FCRA has specific procedures an employer must follow in the event a background check reveals unfavorable information on an applicant.  This is when PreSearch becomes a powerful ally for your business, because we know precisely how you should handle situations when an applicant’s background information threatens their chances for employment within your organization.

EEOC

The EEOC, or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, enforces laws that prohibit discrimination in the hiring process.  In accordance with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the EEOC mandates that no applicant can be refused employment based on personal characteristics such as gender, race, religion, etc.  

Moreover, if a Virginia criminal background check returns unfavorable results, the employer must carefully assess the information to determine whether or not the criminal activity is a direct concern for the specific position designated for the applicant.  If a decision is made to withhold employment to an applicant based on a criminal background check in Virginia, that decision needs to be adequately proven that the criminal activity is in conflict with the job position.

Virginia Background Check

Social Media Checks in Virginia

According to Virginia law, employers are required to follow certain protocols when it comes to handling an applicant’s social media information.  Firstly, employers cannot demand that applicants or employees give them their social media account passwords or usernames.  Secondly, employers cannot demand that applicants or employees add superiors or their employers to their contacts. For example, an applicant cannot be forced to add his or her boss as a “friend” on Facebook.

Ban-The-Box Law in Virginia

In an effort to cultivate a fair, non-discriminatory hiring environment, the governor of Virginia passed Executive Order 41 in 2015, stating that public employers are not allowed to ask an applicant about arrests or criminal convictions on an application.  In other words, Virginia employers may not have a check-box on an application that an applicant must check if he or she has been arrested or convicted of a crime.  

Five years after Executive Order 41 was passed, Virginia enacted another law that prohibits employers from asking pre-hires if they have had any criminal convictions or arrests relating to simple marijuana possession.  Furthermore, applicants who complete a Virginia criminal records check are not required to disclose any information about criminal activity they’ve had in the past associated with simple marijuana possession.

Expungement

Not always, but in most cases, first-time criminal offenses might be destroyed, repressed, or sealed, which makes these criminal records inaccessible to employers.  This is called expungement.  According to the state of Virginia criminal history check laws, employers are prohibited from asking pre-hires for expunged records or attempting to access expunged records. Expunged criminal details are removed from public records and should not appear on a Virginia criminal records check.  

How Much Does a Background Check in Virginia 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.

The answer to this depends upon how your company approaches background checks in Virginia.  For example, if your organization is eligible to access a criminal history report from the Virginia State Police, the cost to perform this check is $27 per criminal background check.  However, bear in mind that this is only a criminal history report, and will not show details such as qualifications, educational background, or work history. Moreover, criminal checks from the Virginia State Police will only reveal criminal activity in the state. It will not show convictions or arrests outside of the state of Virginia.

Some employers DIY their background checks or opt to have their in-house HR department run background checks on pre-hires.  While this might give the impression of saving money, in reality, it can be very expensive.  To explain, conducting a Virginia state background check can be very time-consuming – especially if there are multiple applicants to process. The time and resources required to do a thorough, accurate background check can amount to a big expense in hourly salary or precious time if done in-house.  Also, employers must be absolutely certain that their HR staff is fully compliant with Virginia state laws when conducting background checks on applicants. 

Furthermore, if you are tempted to try out an online vendor touting “free” background checks, you might want to reconsider that route.  To explain, many of these companies are not in compliance with VA state laws when conducting background checks.  Additionally, the results from these so-called “free” services are often inaccurate, obsolete, or outdated.

Whether obtaining a criminal history or getting a background check for trusted employees, your best option is to use PreSearch’s proven, experienced background check service.  We provide every assurance that your checks are conducted in full compliance with Virginia background check laws.  What’s more, we offer fully customized reports so you can pick or choose exactly what kind of checks you need to run on your pre-hires.  

How Long Does a Background Check Take in Virginia?

If you request criminal history reports from the Virginia State Police, don’t expect to receive the results for up to a minimum of two weeks.  Turnaround time for background check results will likely be even longer if you do in-house checks conducted by you or your HR department. This is because it takes significant time to gather all the information, contact previous employers, validate education, and confirm applicant details. 

Alternatively, you can expect quick background check results when you rely on PreSearch. Depending upon what type of Virginia background check you require, our experts can deliver results to you in just a few hours.  More specialized results might take a few days.  In either case, using PreSearch is the fastest, most reliable option for obtaining accurate background check results in the state of Virginia.     

Virginia Background Check

What Appears on a Background Check in Virginia?

Because every state in the US is different, information on a Virginia background check will differ from other states.  Here are the core items that will appear on a standard Virginia background check for employment. 

Employment Verification

As you might expect, this section confirms whether or not the applicant has indeed worked where he or she has claimed on the pre-hire application.  

Education Verification

Likewise, a background check can confirm or deny if an applicant has received the education they have listed on their resume or application. Education verification can also confirm a pre-hire has earned various licenses or certifications.

Criminal History

Excluding expunged records we mentioned earlier, a standard background check can show any criminal activity such as convictions or arrests the applicant may have on his or her record. 

How Far Back Do Background Checks Go in Virginia?

The simple answer to this question is seven years as the time length employers can look back on an applicant’s past history.  This lookback period is in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which limits the time showing unfavorable consumer information to seven years. However, the FCRA seven-year time limit does not apply to positions paying $75,000 or more per year in the state of Virginia.

Furthermore, FCRA time limitations do not apply to employment and educational information as well as criminal activity.  For these details, an employer may go back in an applicant’s history for as many years in the past as desired.

How to Get a Criminal Background Check in Virginia?

As mentioned, you can submit a request to the Virginia State Police in order to obtain a criminal history background check.  Nonetheless, you should know that VA State Police only provides criminal reports to approved agencies.  They will also not provide arrest data without a fingerprint card completed by the applicant.

As an employer, you might get access to limited background information from the Virginia Judiciary, which is a state-wide repository for court records.  However, this information is limited to entries made by court clerks, and it is not always current.  

In either scenario, the data you receive will be finite.  This is because the VA State Police will only provide criminal history for activity in the state of Virginia.  The same holds true for any information gathered from the Virginia Judiciary – it will only be relevant for the state and will not show nationwide or international activity.


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