Background Check

HR Glossary for HR Professionals

Glossary of the most common HR terms and acronyms to assist professionals navigating the ever-growing and ever-changing world of HR terminology.

Background Check

What is a Background Check?

A background check for employment is a form of investigation into a potential employee’s background, based on certain criteria. That could include employment, education, criminal records, vehicle, and license record checks.  It also may or may not include a credit check, which looks into the credit history of a candidate (there are a number of laws surrounding this).

Are Background Checks for Employment Required?

While employers aren’t required to perform a background check, there are certain background check regulations that apply if making any employment decisions regarding the outcome.

Background Check Regulations

Before you get started performing Background Checks, make sure you’re aware of these laws:

  1. Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO): In every case, make sure you’re treating everyone fairly. Don’t make hiring decisions based on race, national origin, color, sex, religion, disability, genetic information, or age. Don’t ask medical questions before a conditional job offer has been made.
  2. Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA): If your company gathers credit or criminal background reports you are required to tell the applicant that you might use the information to make a hiring decision. This notice cannot be in an employment application– you must include this in a stand-alone format and in writing.
  3. Ban-the-Box: This law requires employers to remove criminal-history questions from employment applications.

Background Check Regulations by State

Each state had its own background check regulations to comply with. View the regulations by state below:

Alabama: Ban-the-Box & FCRA

Alaska: FCRA

Arizona: Ban-the-Box & FCRA

Arkansas: Ban-the-Box & FCRA

California: Ban-the-Box, District Laws & FCRA

Colorado: Ban-the-Box, District Laws & FCRA

Connecticut: Ban-the-Box, District Laws & FCRA

Delaware: FCRA

Florida: Ban-the-Box & FCRA

Georgia: Ban-the-Box, District Laws & FCRA

Hawaii: Ban-the-Box & FCRA

Idaho: FCRA

Illinois: Ban-the-Box, District Laws & FCRA

Indiana: Ban-the-Box, District Laws & FCRA

Iowa: FCRA

Kansas: Ban-the-Box, District Laws & FCRA

Kentucky: Ban-the-Box, District Laws & FCRA

Louisiana: Ban-the-Box, District Laws & FCRA

Maine: FCRA

Maryland: Ban-the-Box, District Laws & FCRA

Massachusetts: Ban-the-Box, District Laws & FCRA

Michigan: Ban-the-Box, District Laws & FCRA

Minnesota: Ban-the-Box, District Laws & FCRA

Mississippi: FCRA

Missouri: Ban-the-Box & FCRA

Montana: District Laws & FCRA

Nebraska: Ban-the-Box & FCRA

Nevada: Ban-the-Box, District Laws & FCRA

New Hampshire: District Laws & FCRA

New Jersey: Ban-the-Box & FCRA

New Mexico: Ban-the-Box, District Laws & FCRA

New York: Ban-the-Box, District Laws & FCRA

North Carolina: Ban-the-Box & FCRA

North Dakota: FCRA

Ohio: Ban-the-Box & FCRA

Oklahoma: Ban-the-Box, District Laws & FCRA

Oregon: Ban-the-Box, District Laws & FCRA

Pennsylvania: Ban-the-Box, District Laws & FCRA

Rhode Island: Ban-the-Box & FCRA

South Carolina: Ban-the-Box & FCRA

South Dakota: FCRA

Tennessee: Ban-the-Box & FCRA

Texas: Ban-the-Box & FCRA

Utah: Ban-the-Box & FCRA

Vermont: Ban-the-Box, District Laws & FCRA

Virginia: Ban-the-Box & FCRA

Washington: Ban-the-Box, District Laws & FCRA

West Virginia: FCRA

Wisconsin: Ban-the-Box & FCRA

Wyoming: FCRA

Check out the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for more information on what employers need to know about background check best practices.

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