According to federal law, employers are allowed to conduct background screening checks on employees. As long as employers and background screening companies follow the guidelines of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and treat their employees equally, the only thing left to consider are the state laws. From drug testing to employment history, every state has varying degrees of strictness and privacy laws. Even for industries such as healthcare and education, no two states share the same background check laws.

Drug Testing

Employers are not required under the Drug-Free Workplace Act to conduct drug tests. Many private companies, however, do feel it is necessary to drug test their employees and they must follow state regulations. Some states are more strict than others when it comes to drug testing. In Maine, for example, before conducting drug tests, employers must get approval from the state Department of Labor.

What You Know

Federal law requires employers to inform employees if they find any red flags preventing them from being hired in their background screening reports. Some states have even more inclusive policies when it come to what your employer finds out and what they tell you. In California, an employer must provide full transparency and tell their employees everything from what they’re looking for to where they’re getting the information. And in Minnesota and Oklahoma, employers have to provide employees with a copy of the report.

Arrest and Conviction Records

In many states, arrest and conviction records will affect whether you get hired if they are directly relevant to the job. For example, in Pennsylvania, an employer can only consider a conviction or arrest record if the offense is relevant to the specific job you’re being hired for. In other states, such as New York, employers have to consider how much time has passed since the conviction in addition to the relationship of the conviction to the job.

No matter what state, background check companies will know the state policies better than most. If you have any questions regarding the variations of background check laws among the states, feel free to contact us.