Criminal history background checks are an essential part of many pre-employment screenings. They help mitigate risk, protect your company assets, and avoid negligent hiring lawsuits.
Criminal history searches include county, state, and federal court records. They also have sex offender registries and government sanctions, and watch lists.
What Is a Criminal History Background Check?
A criminal history background check is a pre-employment screening that provides information about a person’s past crimes. This background check is an essential part of most employer hiring protocols. It can help companies avoid negligent hiring lawsuits, protect their brand’s reputation, and reassure employees and customers that they are safe in the workplace.
The information on a criminal background check includes criminal convictions, arrests, and other records related to the individual’s past. Sources of this data include national, federal, state, and local court systems, law enforcement agencies, and criminal justice registries or watch lists.
In addition to criminal records, a criminal background check will also look for non-convictions and other information that can affect an employer’s decision on a candidate. It includes issues like breach of contract, property damage, violations of constitutional rights, and other civil court matters that don’t result in a conviction.
Many states and cities have ban-the-box laws restricting how much criminal history can be requested on an applicant’s application or during the first interview for a position. These restrictions can make it challenging to run a criminal history background check that’s legally compliant with EEOC guidance.
Why Do I Need to Conduct a Criminal History Background Check?
A criminal background check helps keep employees safe and avoids hiring the wrong person. It also enables you to reduce potential losses from employee theft and lowers the liability that could come with a lawsuit for negligent hiring.
A good background screening provider will help you screen applicants per your specific employment requirements and industry standards. They will also help you comply with relevant federal, state, and local laws, including disclosure and authorization.
Most employers focus on convictions rather than arrest records or pending charges in their criminal background checks. A sentence is a court record that shows the case against an applicant, the verdict or outcome of the charge, the sentencing, and any other related information.
The restrictions on how far back criminal history checks can reach vary from state to state. For example, some states do not allow convictions older than seven years to appear on a criminal background check.
Expungement rules are different in each state, and if an applicant successfully petitions the court to seal or expunge their convictions, that information should not show up on a background check.
Conducting a criminal background check is critical to hire but can be complicated and time-consuming. Working with a background screening company with the skills and resources to procure the data you need quickly is best.
What Will Information Be Included in a Criminal History Background Check?
The core of a criminal background check is a search of national and local records. Typically, these searches reveal convictions, arrests, and pending matters that may have a bearing on an applicant’s qualifications for employment.
Some employers use nationwide searches to find the most comprehensive data, while others conduct searches in every county and state where the applicant has lived. It provides a more thorough and complete picture of the applicant’s history.
Federal and state court criminal records are also searched as part of a criminal history background check. It includes felony and misdemeanor convictions and pending matters.
These include tax evasion, fraud, embezzlement, identity theft, etc. They are essential to consider when screening tenants, as this information can indicate whether an individual will be a good renter.
However, this type of information can take time to interpret. It can be hard to determine the exact nature of a conviction or if a crime has been disposed of.
It can also be challenging to distinguish between a felony and a misdemeanor. Often, a felony is more severe than a misdemeanor and is punishable by longer jail time, fines, or probation.
How Do I Conduct a Criminal History Background Check?
Criminal background checks are a smart way to find out about your potential new hires before deciding to extend them a job offer. They can also provide an extra layer of security to your business and help you avoid a high employee turnover rate and a loss of productivity.
A background screening company can do a criminal history background check online or in person. These companies have the expertise and experience to find all the records you need and verify that the information they find is indeed associated with your candidate.
You can also search for yourself for free. However, it needs to be more comprehensive than the search conducted by a professional background check company.
The primary purpose of a criminal history background check is to determine whether an individual has been convicted of a crime. It includes both misdemeanor and felony convictions.
Other records may also be found in a criminal background check, including arrests and pending charges. These can be a great source of information for prospective landlords and risk-oriented lenders who want to know about someone’s past and their ability to pay off debts.
While the scope of a criminal background check can vary based on client requirements, it typically focuses on arrests that led to convictions and any convictions or charges for which the person was acquitted (found innocent). These records offer proof of guilt, which is essential for employers.