Running Employment Background Checks in Utah
Utah is a state that is known for its efficiency in both business and government. So when it was discovered that a state rule that it had for pre-employment inquiry on the part of employers was now precisely like federal law, the state went in and repealed the specific rule, saving taxpayers some money.
The upshot for Utah employers is that the state guidelines for employment background checks closely mirror those of the Federal government through its various agencies. Here are some relevant details for running employment screening while hiring in Utah.
Utah requirements for different professions:
Like other states, Utah has recognized that certain professions require a great deal more scrutiny during the hiring process than others. Therefore, teachers and employees that work closely with children normally have a criminal history background check done on them by their prospective employer. Utah state law requires that a background check be done on all potential hires for Charter schools and the criminal background check is just a part of this. The details of the process are largely left up to the individual school district, but some of them do provide a process within the hiring process for potential hires to actually explain convictions or arrests that may be mistakenly show up on the candidate’s record.
Another set of job types where employers are clear to run criminal checks on their workers has to do with applicants that will be working in jobs with “financial, national security, or statutory authority” responsibilities.
Beyond those two types of roles, the state of Utah explicitly mentions that employers will not be able to run criminal background checks directly. The applicants themselves must ask for a criminal background check from the appropriate state department and then submit the results to the employer.
For truck drivers and delivery personnel, it is common for employers to run a driving record report that will verify that the applicant has a valid license. If there are infractions that appear on the applicant’s record, those infractions can be an acceptable reason for companies to disqualify that individual from further employment consideration.
General requirements for background checks in Utah:
Utah appears to spend much of its regulatory energy remaining in line with federal statutes and guidelines regarding the hiring process. Because of this, hiring in Utah is not much different than hiring in other states that are very federal government-centric in their policies.
The state does have a very clear set of guidelines that cover how criminal background checks can proceed for many employers that ask their employees to get a copy of their own criminal background. Employers need to ask employees to sign a waiver and then provide them with information that tells them specifically what information will be used and how it will be used in the hiring process. The idea is to make the process transparent so that both parties understand the importance of following the guidelines.
Drug testing in Utah is acceptable as long as the testing relates to the potential work to be performed. In practice, this covers almost every type of job. A failed drug test is viewed as being an adequate reason not to offer employment.
Similarly, driving records checks can be done, although the state requires that you get permission in writing from the applicant to do so.
For employment background checks that are non-criminal, there are currently no laws or statutes that differ from federal guidelines.
What can be shown on a background check in Utah:
For companies that run a criminal background check or have their applicants submit one, they will receive the same personal information about their employee that they used on their application. They will also see a record of convictions and court dispositions.
Driving record reports will show either 3 or 7 years of the applicant’s driving history with a history of infractions and tickets that have not been expunged from the record.
For non-criminal background checks, many companies often rely on third party businesses that specialize in knowing what is legal to state about someone and what isn’t. By using a third party vendor that already has the system worked out, a company can reduce its liability and learn about what types of information are legal to use at the same time.
Credit reports in UT for background checks:
Credit checks can be a useful type of background check if the job that you are hiring for requires workers to manage money, information, or financial data. Their use does not always correlate with worker performance- but as a Utah retailer recently found out, not running one for a current employee cost them millions of dollars as that person was able to create a system where they received additional money from the company’s suppliers- and then turned around and used it to pay off their personal gambling debts.
Utah currently follows the federal guidelines for credit screening as a part of the employment process. Applicants need to be informed and their information should be made available to them upon request.