Continuing our look at the various laws surrounding background checks by state, we now turn to the land of sweet tea, hot summers, and hospitality: the South.
For a while, Louisiana did not have a state law in place that restricted how an employer could use an applicant’s criminal records for an employee background screening. Employers in the state had to abide by federal laws, but beyond that, there was little regulation on the state level. However, on August 1, 2016, Louisiana joined other states in passing a so-called ban-the-box law for state employees. Along with removing any question about prior criminal conviction from the application form, this law prohibits employers from asking about prior felony convictions before the first interview or after they extend an offer of employment. This legislation does not affect private companies, and there are exceptions for some state positions, such as law enforcement or any position where criminal background checks are required by law.
Like Louisiana and many other states, Kentucky has ban-the-box laws in place that most public-sector employers must abide by. In addition, employers in the private sector can only ask about someone’s criminal history after they have received their initial application and reached out for an interview. This does not bar them from taking the needed safety precautions and running a criminal background check, but prevents qualified candidates with a criminal history from being automatically disqualified if they made a mistake in their past.
In the Bluegrass State, it’s unlawful for an employer to require a prospective employee to pay any costs associated with retrieving records required for employment, including medical records.
In the state of Georgia, a recently passed law, Georgia HB 328, puts additional pressure on consumer reporting agencies (that is, the third-party agency used to perform background checks) to protect potential employees. These provisions include:
Apart from this, Georgia does not reach far beyond federal laws when it comes to background checks. However, one important law states that if an employer finds information about someone that will disqualify them from being hired, they must tell the applicant about the specific information that led them to make this decision. Not doing this could result in a misdemeanor for the employer.
Of course, these are not all of the laws that affect employment background checks in the South. If you have any questions about regulations in these or any other states, feel free to reach out to us at Trusted Employees.