Beyond FCRA: Top 5 Confusing Background Check Laws by State
9 Jan 2018
While the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is the law of the land for employment background checks, there are also a variety of state regulations that employers should be aware of while hiring. To make things more confusing, state laws are always evolving, so it’s important to pay close attention based on your organization’s location.
You can breathe a sigh of relief if you live in one of the 29 states as well as the District of Columbia that currently do not have any additional laws beyond FCRA: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, D.C., Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
If you’re still holding your breath because your state isn’t on the list, it’s OK to exhale. The experts at Trusted Employees can answer any questions you may have. Here they offer some of the top state-specific laws that trip employers up during employment background checks.
State Drug Testing Laws
Pre-employment drug screening is standard for many organizations. Some states require specific written policies that must be approved prior to implementation. If you’re in Maine, the state Department of Labor must approve your drug testing program, for example.
State Reporting Limits on Criminal Records
FCRA says consumer reporting agencies can report all convictions, regardless of how long ago they occurred. However, some states restrict reporting convictions more than seven years old unless the candidate will make a certain salary. New York is one such state with legislation that says criminal conviction information over seven years old can only be reported if the candidate will earn over $25,000 annually.
State Rules Regarding Disqualification
A criminal record may not be reason enough to disqualify a candidate. Hawaii, New York, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin currently have laws that require organizations to formally state how a candidate’s criminal record would directly impact their ability to perform a specific job. If it’s not directly related to job responsibilities, it may not be reason enough to legally disqualify someone.
Ban the Box Laws Increasing by State
Ban the Box is a movement to remove the checkbox that a candidate would fill in on an application that indicates they have a criminal record. Currently Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Rhode Island have laws that say you must wait until the first job interview or later to ask about a candidate’s criminal record. Many more states and cities have ban the box regulations in some manner, and likely more will join the movement in the future.
Credit History Limitations by State
Think you can add a credit check to your employment background check? You may have to think again if you live in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, or Washington. These states have passed legislation that limits the use of employment credit checks. Other states are striving to pass legislation so it’s likely more will soon follow suit.