Background Check Questions

Hi Folks,

It’s time again to answer some of the most commonly asked questions about background checks and pre-employment screening. This one is a bit of a long one so we are only answering one today.

How far back will an employer go to check my background?
As with many of these types of questions it all depends on the employer. According to the FCRA there is no longer a limit of seven years on criminal record checks. Many companies stick with the old seven year rule though just to have some sort of set standard. There are also certain states that do not allow employers to go beyond a set number of years when it comes to background checks. Listed below are the states that have seven year restrictions for employment screening purposes.

California: CA Civil Code (Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act) 1785.13.6 – Conviction No consumer credit reporting agency shall make any consumer credit report containing any of the following items of information (6) Records of arrest, indictment, information, misdemeanor complaint, or conviction of a crime that, from the date of disposition, release, or parole, antedate the report by more than seven years. These items of information shall no longer be reported if at any time it is learned that in the case of a conviction a full pardon has been granted, or in the case of an arrest, indictment, information or misdemeanor complaint a conviction did not result.

Colorado: CRS 12-14-.3-105.3 (1)(e) – Reporting of information prohibited No consumer reporting agency shall make any consumer report containing any
of the following items of information: (e) Records of arrest, indictment or conviction of a crime that, from the date of disposition, release, or parole, predate the report by more than seven years. Exception: If the salary of an individual equals or is reasonable expected to equal $75,000 or more, the 7-year restriction does not apply.

Kansas: KS Chapter 50 Article 7 – Fair Credit Reporting – Obsolete Information
Except as authorized under subsection (b) of this section, no consumer reporting agency may make any consumer report containing any of the following items of information: (5) records of arrest, indictment, or conviction of crime which, from date of disposition, release, or parole, antedate the report by more than seven (7) years. Exception: If the salary of an individual equals or is reasonable expected to equal $20,000 or more, the 7-year restriction does not apply.

Maryland: Code of Maryland §14-1203 (a) (5) – Reporting of obsolete information prohibited
(a)Prohibited items of information – Except as authorized under subsection (b) of this section, no consumer reporting agency may make any consumer report containing any of the following items of information: (5) Records of arrest, indictment, or conviction of crime which, from date of disposition, release, or parole, antedate the report by more than seven years. Exception: If the salary of an individual equals or is reasonable expected to equal $20,000 or more, the 7-year restriction does not apply.

Massachusetts: M.G.L. Chapter 93, Section 52 – Information not to be contained in report; exceptions:
Except as authorized under subsection (b) no consumer reporting agency shall make any consumer report containing any of the following items of information: (5) Records of arrest, indictment, or conviction of crime which, from date of disposition, release, or parole, antedate the report by more than seven years. Exception: If the salary of an individual equals or is reasonable expected to equal $20,000 or more, the 7-year restriction does not apply.
M.G.L. Chapter 151B, Section 4 (9) – Unlawful practices
It shall be unlawful practice: (9) For an employer, himself or through his agent, in connection with an application for employment, or the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, or the transfer, promotion, bonding, or discharge of any person, or in any other matter relating to the employment of any person, to request any information, to make or keep a record of such information, to use any form of application or application blank which requests such information, or to exclude, limit or otherwise discriminate against any person by reason of his or her failure to furnish such information through a written application or oral inquiry or otherwise regarding: (i) an arrest, detention, or disposition regarding any violation of law in which no conviction resulted, or (ii) and arrest, first conviction for any of the following misdemeanors: drunkenness, simple assault, speeding, minor traffic violation, affray, or disturbance of the peace, or (iii) any conviction of a misdemeanor where the date of such conviction or the completion of any period of incarceration resulting there from, whichever date is later, occurred five of more years prior to the date of such application for employment or such request for information, unless such person has been convicted of any offense within five years immediately preceding the date of such application for employment or such request for information.

Montana: Montana Code Annotated 2005 31-3-112 – Obsolete information
No consumer reporting agency may make any consumer report containing any of the following items of information: (5) records of arrest, indictment, or conviction of crime which, from date of disposition, release, or parole, antedate the report by more than 7 years; (6) any other adverse item of information which antedates the report by more than 7 years.

Nevada: Nevada Revised Statutes 2005 598C.150 (2) – Purging of information from files of reporting agency; disclosure of purged information.
A reporting agency shall periodically purge from its files and after purging shall not disclose: (2) Except as otherwise provided by a specific statute, any other civil judgment, a report of criminal proceedings, or other adverse information which precedes the repot by more than 7 years.

New Hampshire: HRS 359-B:5 – Obsolete Information
I. Except as authorized under paragraph II, no consumer reporting agency may make any consumer report containing any of the following items of information: (e) Records of arrest, indictment, or conviction of crime which from date of disposition, release, or parole, antedate the report by more than 7 years. Exception: If the salary of an individual equals or is reasonable expected to equal $20,000 or more, the 7-year restriction does not apply.

New Mexico: New Mexico Statute Chapter 56-3-6 – Report information; limitations
A credit bureau may report the following matters for no longer than the specified periods: (5) arrests and indictments pending trial, or convictions of crimes for not longer than seven years from date of release or parole. Such items shall no longer be reported if at any time it learned that after a conviction a full pardon has been granted, or after an arrest or indictment a conviction did not result; and (6) any other data not otherwise specified in this section, for not longer than seven years.

New York: New York State Consolidated Laws Article 25 Section 380-j – Prohibited Information
Prohibited information. (a) No consumer reporting agency shall report or maintain in the file on a consumer, information: (1) relative to an arrest or a criminal charge unless there has been a criminal conviction for such offense, or unless such charges are still pending. (f) (1) Except as authorized under paragraph two of this subdivision, no consumer reporting agency may make any consumer report containing any of the following items of information. (V) records of conviction of crime which, from date of disposition, release, or parole, antedate the report by more than seven years
Texas: Business & Commerce Code – Chapter 20 § 20.05 – Reporting of information
Prohibited. (a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), a consumer reporting agency may not furnish a consumer report containing information related to: (4) a record of arrest, indictment, or conviction of a crime in which the date of disposition, release, or parole predates the consumer report by more than seven years. Exception: If the salary of an individual equals or is reasonable expected to equal $75,000 or more, the 7-year restriction does not apply.

Washington: RCW 19.182.040 – Consumer report – Prohibited information – Exceptions Except as authorized under subsection (2) of this section, no consumer reporting agency may make a consumer report containing any of the following items of information: (e) Records of arrest, indictment, or conviction of crime that, from date of disposition, release, or parole, antedate the report by more than seven years. Exception: If the salary of an individual equals or is reasonable expected to equal $20,000 or more, the 7-year restriction does not apply.

As always please refer to the FCRA and your applicable state laws when conducting background checks for employment purposes. Remember, if you have any questions about background checks please feel free to write to me at crimcheck@gmail.com . I will either try to answer them via email or in my blog.

 

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