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Your Rights
Background Check State Law

Some employers check your background before deciding whether to hire you, or before deciding whether you can keep your job. When they do, you have legal rights. Depending on where you live, your city or state may offer additional protections. Various state laws may overlap with some of the relevant federal laws; and, states may have additional requirements with respect to conducting background checkc.

Select your state from the map below or from this list to learn more about your rights.

United States map Washington Oregon Idaho Montana North Dakota Nevada Utah Arizona California New Mexico Colorado Wyoming South Dakota Nebraska Kansas Texas Oklahoma Louisiana Mississippi Arkansas Alabama Tennessee Missouri Iowa Minnesota Wisconsin Michigan Illinois Indiana Florida Georgia South Carolina North Carolina Virginia Kentucky Ohio West Virginia Pennsylvania New York Vermont Massachusetts Rhode Island Connecticut New Jersey Delaware Maryland Maine New Hampshire District of Columbia Alaska Hawaii

 



Alabama

No laws or regulations on background checks and employment.

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Alaska

No laws or regulations on background checks and employment.

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Arizona

In the public sector, employers are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history until after an initial interview has been conducted. 

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Arkansas

No laws or regulations on background checks and employment.

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California

Employers cannot require applicants to pay for employment drug screening.

Credit checksEmployers can only use credit reports to make employment decisions if the position in question is:
  • A managerial position
  • A position in the state Department of Justice
  • That of a sworn peace officer or other law enforcement position
  • A position for which the information contained in the report is required by law to be disclosed or obtained
  • One in which the applicant will work regularly with individuals’ sensitive personal information
  • One in which the applicant will have fiduciary responsibilities on behalf of the employer or business
  • A position that involves access to confidential or proprietary information
  • A position that involves regular access to cash totaling ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or more
Before employers can run a credit report on an applicant, they must inform the applicant that the report may affect the employment decision, reveal the maker of the report, and offer to provide the applicant with a copy of the credit report.

Criminal history:
  • Public and private employers are prohibited from asking applicants about or making employment decisions based on information concerning an arrest or detention that did not result in conviction, or information concerning a referral to, and participation in, any pretrial or posttrial diversion program, or concerning a conviction that has been judicially dismissed or ordered sealed
  • 7-year rule – arrests, indictments, misdemeanor complaints, and convictions of crimes older than seven years cannot be reported.
  • Misdemeanor marijuana convictions more than two years old cannot be reported.
  • Public sector employers are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history until after the applicant has been deemed qualified to meet the minimum requirements for the position
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Colorado

Employers are prohibited from using applicants’ credit information to make employment decisions unless:

  • The employer is a bank or financial institution
  • The report is required by law
  • The report is substantially related to the applicant’s potential job
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Connecticut

All employers are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history on job applications. The exceptions to this are if:

  • The employer is a financial institution
  • The employer has reason to believe that the applicant is engaged in illegal activity
  • The credit report is substantially related to the job

When an employer receives an applicant’s credit report, the employer is required to provide written notice and a copy of the report to the applicant.

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Delaware

Public employers are prohibited from inquiring about or considering an applicant’s criminal or credit history until after an initial job interview.

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District of Columbia

Employers are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s credit history when making employment decisions. There are certain legal exceptions to this rule for specific employment positions.

All employers who have more than 10 employees are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history before a conditional offer of employment has been made. Employers may only inquire about criminal convictions or pending cases. Employers may only disqualify an applicant based on their criminal history for legitimate business reasons and after individualized assessment. 

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Florida

No laws or regulations on background checks and employment.

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Georgia

Public sector employers are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history until after the initial employment application. 

If any employer (including private sector employers) decides to not hire an applicant based on his or her criminal history (discovered through the Georgia Crime Information Center), the employer must inform the applicant about how they obtained the criminal record information, the contents of the record, and the effect that the record had on the employer’s ultimate decision.

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Hawaii

All employers are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history until after a conditional employment offer has been made. Even then, an applicant’s criminal records can only be used to make employment decisions if the records are reasonably linked to the job. The exceptions to this rule are employers authorized by law to review applicants’ credit information, managerial or supervisory positions, and positions at federally insured financial institutions. 

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Idaho

No laws or regulations on background checks and employment.

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Illinois

Employers are prohibited from requesting or using an applicant’s credit history when making employment decisions unless an occupational requirement is established.

Private employers are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history until after the applicant has either been selected for an interview or been given a conditional employment offer. 

Employers are prohibited from making employment decisions based on an arrest not leading to conviction or on a criminal record that has been expunged, sealed, or impounded. 

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Indiana

In the public sector, employers are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history on a job application for Executive Branch positions. However, this does not apply in cases where a conviction of a particular crime would preclude that person from employment in that specific job. Background checks may be conducted at a later point in the hiring process.

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Iowa

No laws or regulations on background checks and employment.

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Kansas

According to state regulations of consumer reporting agencies, unless an applicant is applying for a position with an annual salary of $20,000 or more, background checks may not include criminal information that is more than seven years old.

In the public sector, employers are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history on a job application for Executive Branch positions. However, this does not apply in cases where a conviction of a particular crime would preclude that person from employment in that specific job. Criminal background checks may be conducted as a condition of employment.

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Kentucky

According to state regulations, consumer reporting agencies may not maintain any information about criminal charges unless the charge has resulted in a conviction.

In the public sector, employers within the Executive Branch are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history before contacting the applicant to offer an interview for the position.

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Louisiana

In the public sector, employers are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history until after the applicant has either been given the opportunity for an interview or been given a conditional employment offer. This applies to hiring for “unclassified” positions.

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Maine

In the public sector, employers are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history on an application for a position in the state government. However, this does not apply in cases where a criminal history would preclude that person from employment in that specific job.

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Maryland

According to the Job Applicant Fairness Act, employers may only consider an applicant’s credit history if it will not be used in determining whether to deny employment to the applicant or to determine compensation or the terms of employment. Employers must have a bona fide purpose for requesting a credit report. Credit report requests can only be made once an applicant has received an offer of employment and been notified of the reasons request. 

Consumer reporting agencies are prohibited from reporting on criminal record information that is older than seven years (with a few exceptions). 

In the public sector, employers are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history until after the applicant has been interviewed. 

In the private sector, employers with 15 or more employees are prohibited from requiring applicants to disclose whether they have a criminal record before the initial interview.

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Massachuetts

Consumer reporting agencies are prohibited from reporting on criminal record information that is older than seven years and bankruptcies with judgment dates that are more than 14 years old (with a few exceptions).

If an employer decides to deny employment based on information found in an applicant’s credit history, the employer is required to notify the applicant in writing within 10 days of the decision.

Employers are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history on job applications. Employers are prohibited from requiring applicants to disclose information about sealed or expunged criminal records. However, this does not apply in cases where a conviction of a particular crime would preclude that person from employment in that specific job. Employers are required to identify to the applicant the specific information in the report that is the basis for any potential adverse action.

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Michigan

In the public sector, employers are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history on a job application or posting. Criminal records may be considered later on during the interview stage of the hiring process.

All employers are prohibited from maintaining information about applicants’ misdemeanor arrests, detentions, or dispositions that did not result in convictions. Consumer reporting agencies may still report on felony charges even if they have not yet resulted in conviction or dismissal.

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Minnesota

Employers are required to provide applicants written notice before ordering a background check and provide a box on the notice for the applicant to check off if they want to receive a copy of the report. If an applicant checks this box requesting a copy of the report, the consumer reporting agency must send a copy to the applicant free of charge within 24 hours. Additionally, employers are prohibited from requiring an applicant to pay for a background check.

Employers are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history until after the applicant has either been given the opportunity for an interview or been given a conditional employment offer. Employers are prohibited from disqualifying applicants based on his or her criminal history unless a conviction is directly related to the employment position. Additionally, when evaluating applicants, employers may not consider records of arrest not followed by valid conviction, annulled or expunged convictions, and misdemeanor convictions with no jail sentence.

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Mississippi

No laws or regulations on background checks and employment.

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Missouri

In the public sector, employers are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history on a job application for Executive Branch positions. However, this does not apply in cases where a conviction of a particular crime would preclude that person from employment in that specific job. Criminal background checks may be conducted as a condition of employment.

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Montana

Consumer reporting agencies are prohibited from including criminal history that is more than seven years old and bankruptcy history that is more than 14 years old when producing background checks for employers.

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Nebraska

In the public sector, employers are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history until after the applicant has been deemed qualified to meet the minimum requirements for the position. Exemptions include law enforcement positions, school districts for certain information, and any other positions with mandated background check requirements.

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Nevada

Employers are prohibited from disqualifying an applicant who does not consent to a credit report as a condition of employment. Employers may consider an applicant’s credit report if the employer is mandated or authorized by law, has reason to believe that the applicant is engaged in illegal activity, or believes that the report is significantly related to the job.

In the public sector, employers are prohibited from considering an applicant’s criminal history until after the final in-person interview or a conditional offer of employment has been made. Exemptions include applicants for employment as a peace officer or firefighter and any position with access to the Nevada Criminal Justice Information System or the National Crime Information Center.

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New Hampshire

Consumer reporting agencies are prohibited from including information that is older than seven years when producing background checks for employers. Exemptions include transactions involving $50,000 or more, life insurance policies of $50,000 or more, and cases in which the employment position has an annual salary of $20,000 or more.

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New Jersey

Employers who have at least 15 employees are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history until after the first interview. Additionally, employers are prohibited from considering expunged or pardoned convictions when making employment decisions.

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New Mexico

Consumer reporting agencies are prohibited from including an applicant’s bankruptcy history that is more than 14 years old and any arrests or indictments that did not lead to a conviction or were pardoned when producing background checks for employers. Any other information that is older than seven years should not be included.

In the public sector, employers are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history before the applicant has been named a finalist. Additionally, employers may not consider arrests that did not result in a conviction and misdemeanor convictions that did not involve moral turpitude. 

In the private sector, employers are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history until after review of the application and a discussion of employment with the applicant.

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New York

Consumer reporting agencies are prohibited from including criminal history information that is older than seven years and bankruptcy information that is older than 14 years when producing background checks for employers. Exemptions include transactions involving $50,000 or more, life insurance policies of $50,000 or more, and cases in which the employment position has an annual salary of $25,000 or more.

In the public sector, employers are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history until after an interview has been conducted. 

All employers are prohibited from denying employment to an applicant based on his or her criminal history unless there is a direct relationship between the applicant’s previous criminal offenses and the specific employment position or if granting the applicant employment would involve unreasonable risk to specific individuals or the general public.

If an applicant who has a criminal record is denied employment and requests an explanation, the employer is required to provide a written statement explaining the reasons for the denial within 30 days.

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North Carolina

No laws or regulations on background checks and employment.

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North Dakota

In the public sector, employers are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history before the applicant has been selected for an interview. Exemptions include the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and any employers required by law to check the criminal history of applicants.

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Ohio

In the public sector, employers are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history on initial applications for employment. Additionally, employers should not base employment decisions on an applicant’s previous felony conviction.

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Oklahoma

Before requesting a consumer report, employers are required to provide written notice to the applicant. Additionally, employers must include a box on this notice for the applicant to check off if they want to receive a copy of the report. If an applicant checks this box requesting a copy of the report, the consumer reporting agency must send a copy to the applicant free of charge.

In the public sector, employers are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history on applications for jobs in state agencies. Exemptions include sensitive government positions and positions for which a felony conviction would legally disqualify an applicant.

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Oregon

Employers are prohibited from considering an applicant’s credit history when making employment decisions (with specified exceptions).

All employers are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history until after an initial interview has been conducted. Exemptions include law enforcement, criminal justice positions, volunteers, and any other positions for which a felony conviction would legally disqualify an applicant.

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Pennsylvania

Employers are prohibited from considering an applicant’s criminal history unless there is a direct relationship between the applicant’s previous criminal offenses and the specific employment position. Employers are also required to provide written notice to an applicant who has been denied employment for reasons related to criminal history.

In the public sector, employers are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history on the job application for non-civil service positions.

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Rhode Island

All public sector employers and all private sector employers who have at least four employees are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history before the first interview. Exceptions include positions from which an applicant with previous convictions would be automatically disqualified by law.

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South Carolina

No laws or regulations on background checks and employment.

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South Dakota

No laws or regulations on background checks and employment.

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Tennessee

In the public sector, employers are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history on initial applications for jobs in state agencies. If employers are announcing an employment position that is a covered position (a position from which an applicant with previous convictions would be automatically disqualified by law), the job announcement must include a statement disclosing that the position requires a criminal background check.

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Texas

No laws or regulations on background checks and employment.

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Utah

In the public sector, employers are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history before the applicant’s initial interview or, if no interview is conducted, before the applicant has been given a conditional employment offer. Exceptions include positions that require by law consideration of an applicant’s criminal history, law enforcement positions, criminal justice positions, tax commission positions, alcoholic beverage control positions, and positions that involve working with children or vulnerable adults and nonemployee volunteers.

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Vermont

Employers are prohibited from disqualifying an applicant based on the applicant’s credit history. Employers cannot request a credit report for a job applicant unless it is required by law, or the position is a first responder, requires financial fiduciary duty, involves access to payroll information, or if the credit history information is a valid predictor of employee performance. Even if an employer can legally request a credit report, they are not permitted to use that information as the sole factor in employment decisions.

Employers are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history until an interview or once the applicant has been deemed otherwise qualified for the position. Employers may only inquire about an applicant’s criminal history on initial job applicants if it is for a position from which an applicant with previous convictions would be automatically disqualified by law.

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Virginia

In the public sector, employers are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history on initial applications for state employment. Employers may only inquire about an applicant’s criminal history once the applicant has been deemed otherwise eligible and is being considered for the position. Employment decisions may not be based on an applicant’s criminal history unless it is demonstrably job-related and consistent with business necessity, or if it is a position from which an applicant with previous convictions would be automatically disqualified by law.

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Washington

Employers are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s credit history unless it is required by law or if the credit history information is substantially related to the job. In these cases, the reason for obtaining the applicant’s credit information must be disclosed in writing to the applicant. 

Consumer reporting agencies are prohibited from including information that is older than seven years when producing background checks for employers. Exemptions include transactions involving $50,000 or more, life insurance policies of $50,000 or more, and cases in which the employment position has an annual salary of $20,000 or more.

All employers are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history until it has been determined that the applicant meets the basic criteria for the position and is deemed otherwise qualified.

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West Virginia

No laws or regulations on background checks and employment.

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Wisconsin

In the public sector, employers for the state are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history until after the applicant has been certified for the position. The exceptions to this are positions from which a certain conviction record would automatically disqualify applicants.

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Wyoming

No laws or regulations on background checks and employment.

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