Background Check Washington State

Washington State Employer’s Guide to Background Checks

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With its strong economy, diverse industrial environment, and scads of skilled workers in the state, Washington is a mecca for employers and volunteer recruiters alike.  If you’re a business owner or a volunteer administrator – you likely already know the benefits of doing business in a state that is consistently ranked one of the top places to live, play, and work. But what about hiring the right person for your organization?  We’re glad you asked because getting a background check in Washington State is your number one priority in determining the best employee or volunteer for your hiring purposes.  That said, we want you to be optimally prepared to staff your establishment with the best and brightest in your field while keeping in line with Washington background check laws.   

How PreSearch Can Help With Background Check Services in Washington State

PreSearch takes pride in being a premier provider of employee background check services in Washington State. Our advanced technology and dedicated team of experts allow us to deliver efficient and comprehensive background checks for employers seeking to bring trusted individuals on board.

An advantage of using PreSearch Services for background checks lies in our bespoke background checks and screening solutions tailored to various industries’ unique needs. Whether your operations span healthcare, finance, or education, PreSearch can meticulously tailor our services to align with your specific requirements.

Furthermore, the ever-changing landscape of rules and regulations surrounding each Washington background check can pose a daunting challenge for employers. Keeping pace with the latest laws can be overwhelming – that’s where PreSearch steps in to ease your burden. We stay abreast of all pertinent federal and Washington State laws, allowing you to focus on your business without fretting over compliance issues.

In partnering with PreSearch, you can expect exceptional care and unparalleled service. Our experts strive to simplify the process of obtaining a background check in Washington State, making it as straightforward and effortless as possible. Trust in our partnership to provide you with the reliable information required to make well-informed hiring decisions, all sourced from dependable channels.

What is a Background Check 

A background check is a process that involves looking up and compiling an individual’s records, including commercial, criminal, and financial records. Typically used in the context of employment, these checks help employers assess a candidate’s suitability for a job and ensure they pose no threat to the organization or its employees.

Background Check Washington State

Importance of Washington State Background Checks

A WA state background check is an integral part of the hiring process and vital to maintaining workplace safety and integrity. These checks provide an unbiased review of a candidate’s past, helping to confirm the accuracy of their application and protect the company from potential risks such as fraud, theft, or harmful behavior. This process of getting background checks and screenings for trusted employees helps employers make informed decisions, fosters trust, and can significantly impact the overall quality of the workforce.

Washington Background Check Laws

The act of getting a background check in Washington is governed by both federal and state legislation. To ensure compliance and prevent legal disputes, employers must understand the nuances and requirements of each regulation.

Federal Laws on Employment Background Checks 

Indeed, it’s important to note that just as with state laws, employers in Washington State are also expected to observe and abide by federal laws when conducting background checks. Here are the key federal laws you should be aware of before initiating a Washington State background check. These laws must be adhered to in parallel with state-specific regulations.

Civil Rights Act, Title VII

Enacted in 1964, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act establishes that it is illegal for employers to discriminate against employees based on sex, race, color, national origin, and religion. This law is relevant to background checks as it prohibits employers from using these factors in any area of employment, including hiring and firing. 

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

The FCRA regulates how employers can use a candidate’s consumer reports, which can include credit reports and criminal records. Before obtaining these reports, employers must notify candidates in writing and receive their written consent. 

If an employer decides to deny employment based on the information in a consumer report (a decision known as an “adverse action”), they must follow a specific process. This involves providing the candidate with a pre-adverse action disclosure. This should include a copy of the consumer report and a synopsis of their rights under the FCRA. After a reasonable amount of time, the employer must provide a notice of adverse action, informing the candidate about their rights to see the information reported about them and to correct any inaccuracies.

Washington State Employment Background Check Laws

When executing background checks on potential employees, employers are mandated to conform to the distinct laws and regulations of the state. Therefore, every employer must acquaint themselves with the following pre-screening procedures, regulations, and laws in Washington state:

Vacating Certain Criminal Convictions

In Washington State, individuals have the opportunity to vacate or remove certain criminal convictions from their records. Employers cannot use a conviction as a factor in the employment decision process if a conviction is vacated. 

Salary History Questions Prohibited

Washington law prohibits employers from asking about an applicant’s previous wage or salary history. The intention behind this law is to break the cycle of wage inequality by preventing employers from basing salary offers on past wages rather than a candidate’s skills, qualifications, or responsibilities of the job.

Ban-the-Box Law

The Ban-the-Box law in Washington prevents employers from asking about criminal history until after they have assessed whether the applicant is otherwise qualified for the position. This allows candidates to be judged on their skills and abilities rather than past mistakes.

Seattle Fair Chance Employment Law

Under this law, employers can only consider criminal history if there is a legitimate business reason to do so.  Employers and hiring managers must conduct an individualized assessment of the candidate’s criminal record in relation to the job being filled.

Credit Reports for Employment

In Washington, employers may gather credit information for employment decisions if it is significantly related to the job or required by law. These FCRA laws are in place to protect candidates’ credit data and their identity and from being unfairly judged based on their financial history.

Failure to comply with these Washington State background check laws can result in significant legal consequences, including fines and lawsuits. Therefore, employers must understand these laws or enlist the help of a trusted service like PreSearch to ensure they remain compliant while obtaining the necessary information to make informed hiring decisions.

Types of Background Checks in Washington

Understanding the types of background checks in Washington is the first step toward achieving compliance and efficiency in your hiring process.

Criminal Background Checks

A criminal background check in Washington State will provide details about an individual’s criminal history. This can include information about convictions, incarcerations, and arrests.

Employment Background Checks

Employment background checks typically involve verifying a candidate’s work history, including employment dates, job titles, and reasons for leaving previous jobs. These checks can help employers validate a candidate’s experience and integrity.

Background Check Washington State

How to Get a Background Check in Washington

If you need a criminal background check in Washington, you can send a request for a fingerprint-based or name-based search to the Washington State Patrol. 

For employers who are certified or licensed by the Department of Health and Social Services, you can also submit a request for pre-hire background checks directly to the Division of Health Care Services.

However, keep in mind that these state government-provided reports only cover criminal history within the state of Washington. They won’t provide information about any potential criminal activity that occurred in other states or internationally. Moreover, these reports don’t include critical hiring information, such as employment history or educational background.

The optimal way to obtain a background check in Washington is through a reliable provider like PreSearch. We offer the flexibility to choose the specific information you need, providing the most comprehensive and thorough information for your hiring decisions.

Please visit our service page for a full list of our offerings

How Long Does a Washington Background Check Take

The duration of a background check in Washington can fluctuate according to the types of information you need. The best way to get quick and fast background checks is to use PreSearch. Our reports are comprehensive, covering everything you need, and we’re fast. We can usually get you the information within a day or two; sometimes, we can even give you results on the same day.

We understand that time is crucial when you’re trying to hire the right people. Doing background checks by yourself can take up a lot of time and money. First, getting state and federal government criminal background checks can be slow. Second, your human resources team will need time to collect all the necessary information for each check. This process could take days or even weeks, slowing down your hiring process.

So, why not let PreSearch handle it for you? We can get you the information faster than if you were to do it all on your own. Trust us for all your background check needs in Washington State. We’ll save you time and help you make the best hiring decisions.

How Far Back Do Background Checks Go in Washington State?

In Washington State, background checks usually go back seven years, following the FCRA guidelines. However, some types of background checks, such as those for positions with high security or trust, may delve further into an individual’s history.

What Shows Up on a Washington Background Check?

The type of information obtained from a background check depends on the specific requests you make. With PreSearch, you can choose to receive data on criminal history in Washington State, in addition to any criminal activity reported in other states or even internationally. Our services extend beyond just criminal records, encompassing other crucial areas such as sex offender registry status, driving record history, educational backgrounds, and much more.

A basic criminal background check in Washington State will reveal past convictions or pending charges, including felony and misdemeanor convictions. This information includes the severity of the charges, arrest dates, and the results of any sentencing.

Credit reports procured through a comprehensive background check provide valuable financial information. These reports can reveal any instances of bankruptcy, fraudulent charges, liens, collections, and other data that might be pertinent in a pre-hire background check. All these detailed insights can be instrumental in making an informed hiring decision.

How Much Does a Background Check Cost in Washington?

The cost of a background check in Washington can differ based on the type of check and the depth of information required.  On average, employers might expect to pay anywhere from $12 to $35.95 per check depending upon the type of information you request from the WA State Patrol. However, this information only gives you criminal histories. Your best value is to partner with PreSearch to get all the different levels of data you need for a solid hiring event.  For a precise cost assessment based on your specific needs, reach out to PreSearch directly.

In summary, understanding the background check process in Washington State can seem complex, but it is a vital part of hiring and maintaining a safe workplace. With a reliable service like PreSearch, you can simplify this process, ensuring you stay compliant with the law while obtaining the most accurate and relevant information.

*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.

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