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Utah public records law is governed by the Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA). The law grants the public access to copies of all government records that are not determined to be invasive of an individual’s privacy, contain trade secrets or contain information that could impair governmental procurement proceedings.
Members of the general public provide a written request to the government agency in control of the document, and the agency in question then has 10 business days to either provide the record or provide written notice of why the request is denied or will take longer to fulfill. Requesters with media credentials are guaranteed the same response within five business days.
The law includes private entities that are created or funded by a public entity, all public associations, and public universities with the exception of unpublished research.
Fees may be charged for the research, collection and copying of records. These fees cannot exceed the hourly pay of the lowest-paid staff member who can complete the request, and there is no charge for requests that take less than 15 minutes to fulfill.
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The Bureau of Criminal Identification of the Utah Department of Public Safety is responsible for official state background checks. Criminal records are obtained from their office in Salt Lake City. Individuals can obtain their own criminal record in person at this office with a government-issued picture ID and by paying a fee of $15. Records can also be obtained through the mail from this office by filling out the Criminal History Record Application. If done this way, applicants must visit their local law enforcement agency and have a set of fingerprints made to enclose with the mailed application along with the application fee of $15.
Criminal records can only be directly issued to the subject of the record. The subject can voluntarily have their criminal record sent to a third party by filling out a release form and submitting it with their application.
Arrest record information available to the general public in Utah is limited to the arrest photo, name, age, physical description, city or town of residence, charges, arraignment dates and bond amounts of the person in question.
Some of the counties, such as Salt Lake County and Utah County, have an online search tool maintained by the sherrif’s department that allows members of the general public to look up basic information about current inmates in that county. These search tools require the name of the inmate, and the date of arrest can also be used. Information available to anyone includes a mugshot, the arresting agency and booking date, the inmate’s year of birth and nationality, basic physical description details, and the nature of charges with any applicable bail amount.
The Utah Department of Corrections maintains a similar online search tool for inmates in state prisons. The inmate’s first and last name must be known, or alternately their offender number can be used.
Public court records can be obtained centrally from the Utah Courts. Private court records are restricted to the subjects of the record and their attorney.
The Utah State Archives holds court records that are more than 50 years old. These records are considered archived, and transcripts are very rarely kept. Records of proceedings are generally open to the public, but some cases are sealed by the court and require a court order to access.
Birth, death, marriage and divorce certificates are handled by the Utah Office of Vital Records and Statistics. Birth and death certificates are available dating back to 1905 and can be ordered in person, by mail or online through Vitalchek. This office can only provide marriage and divorce certificates from 1978 to 2010. Marriage records from 2011 onward must be obtained from the county where the marriage took place.
Vital records can only be obtained by the subject or their spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent or grandchild.
The above information is for running general, free searches in Utah. If you want to hire someone in Utah and then run a background check on them, different laws will apply. Read below to understand more.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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Oregon law states that all records created by a public body that contain information relating to the conduct of public business are considered to be public records. Most public records are available to the general public, with the exception of confidential communications between government officials and records of active criminal investigations.
Government agencies and officials can claim that certain records are exempt from disclosure to the public if they can demonstrate that the need for confidentiality is greater than the public interest. Government agencies who reject a request for a record must explain in writing why the request was denied, and the requester has the right to appeal to the Oregon Attorney General free of charge. If an elected official denies the request, it must be appealed by filing a lawsuit in Circuit Court.
Agencies are allowed to charge fees to cover the costs of fulfilling the request, but requesters can also challenge the fee on the basis of public interest. If the fee exceeds $25, the government agency must first provide an estimate.
Official state background checks are handled by the Public Records Unit of the Oregon State Police.
A full criminal history can only be released to the subject of the record upon positive fingerprint identification. Applicants can either be fingerprinted in person at the CJIS Division of the Oregon State Police in Salem, or they can do their own fingerprints using card FD528. The fingerprints must be correctly rolled according to the instructions on the card to be accepted. They can then be mailed (along with a check for $33) to the CJIS Division of the Oregon State Police in Portland (not the Salem office) along with a completed “Copy of Own Record Request Form.”
The only third party that can obtain a complete criminal history is a criminal justice or law enforcement agency. Some limited information is available to the general public for arrests and convictions that are less than one year old on the date of the request. Any third party can learn the date of arrest, nature of the offense, arresting agency, court of origin and sentence imposed. If the information is to be used for employment purposes, however, the potential employer must notify the subject in writing that they are requesting it. Requests can be made in writing to the Oregon State Police in Portland for a $10 fee.
The Oregon Offender Search is available online for use by any member of the general public. These records include a mugshot, the inmate’s name, date of birth, height, weight, eye and hair color, gender and race. Their current incarceration status and location are also listed as well as sentencing information and their projected release date.
Some counties list their full roster of current inmates online along with their mugshots, name, age, scheduled release date, list of charges and sentencing status.
The Oregon Municipal Clerk of Court maintains computerized records of civil, criminal and traffic cases that can be searched online. This database contains the full records of the 36 circuit courts in the state.
The circuit court in each county also maintains a free OJIN public access terminal that allows users to look up case information. Court staff may also be able to help in looking up records.
The Center for Health Statistics issues certified records of births, deaths, marraige, domestic partnerships and divorces. Birth and death records are available from 1903, marraige records are available from 1906 and divorce certificates are available from 1926. Older records may be available from their county of origin.
Records can be ordered over the Internet at Vitalchek, by telephone, by mail or in person at 800 NE Oregon Street in Portland. The lowest fees are for requests by regular mail.
The above information was a general overview of public records in Oregon. If you’re looking to run background checks for employment purposes in OR, there’s more info that you’ll need to know.
In addition to abiding by federal laws such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Oregon state laws further regulate what information employers can access during the employment screening process and how they can use that information.
The process for requesting a criminal background check and what information can be disclosed is governed by ORS 181.560.
In order to access information on an applicant’s criminal history, employers in Oregon must notify the applicant. When requesting that information from the state police, they must provide the time and location that the applicant was notified.
State police notify the subject of any criminal background check prior to providing that information to the requesting party. This notification contains a copy of all information that will provided to the potential employer, information on civil rights law relating to the employer’s use of the information contained in the report, and a procedure for challenging anything in the report that the applicant believes is inaccurate.
Background check results are provided to employers no sooner than 14 days after the subject of the check has been notified. Most criminal background checks are based on a name search. Some types of positions (see below) require fingerprint searches for increased accuracy.
Prior convictions, excluding juvenile convictions that have been expunged, and arrests within the last year for charges with no record of acquittal or dismissal appear on the report, and can include the following details:
• Date of arrest
• Arresting agency
• Court of origin
• Sentence, including parole date and revocation of parole, if applicable
Information on arrests that did not result in a conviction does not appear, though pending arrests may.
Oregon law does not distinguish between misdemeanors and felonies for the purposes of criminal history reporting and there is no time restriction on the convictions that can appear on the report.
Criminal convictions alone are not sufficient grounds for denying an applicant employment in Oregon. Specific circumstances must be taken into account, including:
• Nature of the offense
• How long ago the applicant was convicted
• The nature of the job
More importantly, employers must consider the implications of the conviction on the position for which the applicant is being considered, taking into account such factors as the position’s degree of supervision, the applicant’s exposure to other employees, and where the job will be performed. Generalizations, such as “an applicant convicted of theft is more likely to steal” are not permissible reasons for denying employment based on a past conviction.
Other mitigating factors that must be considered are whether the applicant has performed similar work since the conviction with no further criminal conduct, character references, references concerning their suitability for the position, and efforts toward rehabilitation since the conviction.
Following federal law, Oregon employers are required to notify applicants if they are being disqualified for a position based on the contents of their criminal history report.
Employers are prohibited from using expunged juvenile records in hiring decisions unless that record directly relates to a specific job qualification.
ORS 443.004 requires background checks for anyone in a position that provides in-home care or who works with disabled individuals; ORS 181.547 provides further guidelines on background checks for positions with direct access to any of the following:
• The elderly
• Persons with disabilities
• Persons with mental illnesses
• The general public
Direct access is defined as interaction with the individual that meets the above criteria or with their personal information.
Common positions that fall under these rules are day care workers, in-home care assistants and law enforcement officers.
Additionally, these rules govern background checks for anyone seeking employment in a profession or trade that requires any of the following:
Background checks for applicants to positions meeting the above criteria generally require fingerprint identification to reduce incorrect reporting due to identity errors with name searches. Oregon law allows for consideration to be given to the cost of a nation-wide fingerprint search when performing these employment screenings.
Applicants for these kinds of positions may be disqualified based on the results of a criminal history check without the same regard for the relevance of the conviction to the position that is required for positions that don’t meet any of the above criteria.
Oregon maintains a Background Check Registry of individuals with completed background checks who are eligible to for employment as homecare workers without a new background check. Inclusion in the registry is subject to a new background check every two years.
While the FCRA allows employers to use an applicant’s credit history if it’s relevant to the position, Oregon law is more restrictive. Employers may not obtain or use any information about an applicant’s credit history unless they fall into specific exception categories, such as federally insured banks and positions for which such information is required by law for employment. ORS 659A.320 and the fact sheet summary for employers is available from Oregon’s Technical Assistance for Employers website.
In addition to creditworthiness, employers may not consider bankruptcy history or wage garnishment when making hiring decisions.
OR law also addresses information that may come up during an employment screening that falls outside the purview of criminal and credit history.
Employers may not use an applicant’s involvement in a civil case filed in good faith against an employer, as a plaintiff or witness, when making a hiring decision.
Per ORS 659A.315 employers may not deny employment to an applicant who smokes during non-work hours, and may not require as a condition of employment that an applicant refrain from smoking during non-work hours, unless there is a genuine occupational reason or a collective bargaining agreement is in place that prohibits off-duty smoking.
Oregon law is generally more restrictive than federal law on what information potential employers can access and how they can use it when making hiring decisions.
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Georgia’s Open Records Act (OPA) grants residents of the state the statutory right to access and inspect many records that have been created or owned by government agencies. Although not specifically stated in the law, the Georgia Attorney General has voiced the opinion that even individuals who are not Georgia citizens should be granted access to the information. Given this statement, even though it is not required by law, a request to access public records made by a non-Georgia citizen may still be granted.
Information regarding all state agencies, departments, commissions, authorities and bureaus are available through the Open Records Act, as well as documents in association with municipal governments and regional authorities. If a private entity has performed a service for a public agency, or if a nonprofit organization receives more than one third of their funding from the government, their records are also considered to be accessible through a request for public records.
Materials considered to be in the scope of public record are broadly defined to include books, tapes, maps, written documents, electronic information and photographs that have been sent or received in the standard course of a government body’s daily operations.
However, requests for access to information can be denied by a government body if one or more exemptions apply to the instance. There are many potential exemptions that can be leveraged by an institution in order to deny a request, including not allowing access to documents that have been deemed confidential by the federal government and withholding any information that could potentially be used to circumvent alarm systems.
In order to find further information regarding Georgia’s public records law, examine Georgia’s Open Records Act in its entirety.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is in charge of maintaining and releasing Georgia criminal history records. These records include criminal history; personal identification data such as name, social security number, sex, race, height and weight; as well as arrest data like the date of arrest and what crimes the individual was charged with. The final judicial disposition is also included in the criminal history record.
Also, felony conviction records for individuals other than the person making the request can be obtained without the consent of the person whose record is being accessed.
Official state background checks are also the responsibility of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and can be applied for through the Georgia Applicant Processing Service.
Georgia jail and inmate record information can be found within a criminal records history file. These files can be accessed through the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and also include additional information about the inmate whose file is being examined, such as height, weight, sex, race, birth date, social security number and charges.
More information regarding Georgia’s jail and inmate records can be found within Georgia’s Victim Notification Service (VINE) Profile.
Georgia Court Records are available to the public and can be requested through the Judicial Council of Georgia. Requests for court records can also be made at the court where the trial took place. Some juvenile proceedings are not publicly available, but often cases involving the care of a juvenile, such as child support hearings, are available.
The Judicial Council of Georgia can be contacted for further clarification regarding requesting and accessing Georgia Court Records.
The Georgia Department of Public Health is responsible for maintaining and processing requests for Georgia Vital Records. These records include birth and death certificates, as well as marriage licenses and divorce confirmations. Georgia birth records from 1919 to present are available.
Georgia’s Vital Records can be requested through the Georgia Department of Public Health Vital Records Request Page.
Georgia offers a moderate amount of protection for job applicants when it comes to employment background checks. The overriding guideline that appears to be in use is if the screening component is relevant to the job, then it is probably legal to do. If you plan to hire workers in Georgia, the following information should prove to be useful:
If you are interested in understanding specific requirements for employment background checks in Georgia, read on.
Certain professions in Georgia are considered to be jobs that absolutely require the public’s confidence in the workers’ ability to be honest. In that type of position, it is common to see that State of Georgia licensing will not be forthcoming if they have a criminal record.
A good example of this is a real estate professional. Georgia will not license people who have a criminal record as they are considered to be people that will not inspire confidence when it comes to handling financial transactions. On the other hand, if the person is part of the First Offender program, they can have their offense set aside and become licensed as a realtor.
Other types of positions are considered to be more standard. For those hiring caregivers in the health care industry, for example, the standard guidelines apply: only screen for areas that directly impact their job. If a caregiver is not receiving checks from your clients, you do not likely need to run a credit check on them. If they will be managing your facility, you may run a credit check, a employment background check, a criminal history check, a driving record check, as well as a drug screening.
If you are hiring people that will be driving or transporting goods, it is common in Georgia to run a DMV check that will verify their commercial driving license and show any infractions that they might have. Employers will typically also run a criminal background check.
Most companies that work in technology and hire engineers and business staff tend to run criminal background screening, drug screening, and credit checks. The rationale for running a credit check will often be that that employee will have access to company information that is very valuable and therefore the company could be at risk if they do not understand that they are hiring people that may be in financial straits.
For some workers, because it is hard to imagine someone taking company information, a credit check may seem out of place yet Coca Cola in Atlanta had their secret formula stolen by an office worker some years ago and that person tried to sell the secret to Pepsi. Of course Pepsi reported them and they were arrested, helping to show why a credit check is justified when people are handling sensitive information.
In general, keeping track of the latest laws is something that some companies would prefer not to have to do when it comes to employee screening, they will often turn to companies that specialize in running employment background checks on their behalf. That can lower liability because the third party company will be a specialist in Georgia-specific checks.
Georgia does not specifically go beyond federal law in most cases when it comes to running background checks. One law that is very important to understand, however, is that if you do decide to do a specific type of background check and then use the information to disqualify the applicant, you need to ensure that you keep a record of that information and that you inform the applicant that your decision was based upon the specific information that you received.
The law is important because if you do learn something that you do not like and you use it to make a hiring decision and then tell the applicant that they were not accepted for some other reason, it could be a misdemeanor on your part. The law is known as: GA Code 35-3-34 (b).
Another Georgia-specific type of system dealing with background checks is based upon a law that requires employers to register with their online system in order to access an applicant’s criminal history. The system is known as the Georgia Applicant Processing System and can be used to run criminal history checks on applicants once an employer has registered. First Offender offenses will not appear on a background check, but employers can require that applicants self-disclose information for certain types of jobs.
For driving records, obtaining a history that goes back either 3 or 7 years for potential employees that will be driving is possible through the DMV.
Georgia background checks show fairly basic information about the applicant’s history.
When doing a criminal background check, as per the state of Georgia the information that will be reported will be the applicant’s name, date of birth, social security number, sex, race, height and weight. Companies will also receive the name of the arresting agency, the date of the arrest, what the charges were, and what the outcome or disposition of each case was.
For driving records, the state of Georgia uses an ‘A’ to signify that the driver does not have any special requirements that go with the license. If there is not an ‘A’, there may be a circumstance like requires corrective lenses, so employers will not typically use that as a deciding factor. The same personal information that is included with a criminal record is also included on a driving record. In addition, driving infractions will be noted along with the date. It is worthwhile to remember that after 2 years, records of licenses that were suspended will be removed from the database.
If an employer hires in other states, they may want to develop an overall approach that fits every state regarding their use of credit reports. For Georgia, there is no current state law that covers credit reports, but there is a bill that is currently in front of the legislature that will mandate that credit reports may only be used for: managers, those who deal in managerial level company finance, and those employees that will have expense accounts.
Under current state law, there is nothing to preclude employers from running a credit report when hiring retail employees that will be handling cash on a regular basis. In practice, because a credit report can affect the applicant’s credit score, most companies are careful about the job types that they run a credit report for anyway.
The state of Colorado is part of the Western United States and is most well-known as the home of the southern Rocky Mountains. Named after the Colorado River that runs through portions of the state, Colorado was also nicknamed the “Centennial State” because it was granted statehood just 28 days after the centennial of the Declaration of Independence. With over 5 million Coloradoans residing there, it is the 22nd most populous state and does have a public records law on the books.
Colorado Public Records Laws
The Colorado Public Records Act, also referred to as the Colorado Open Records Act or CORA, was enacted in 1969 and was originally modeled after the Federal Freedom of Information Act. This is covered under Title 24 – Article 72 – of the Colorado Statute. There were amendments to the Act, however, in 1977 with the state’s Criminal Justice Records Act, which created some distinctions between state law and federal law.
Under the Act, “any person” may gain access to public records that are not copyright protected. The purpose of the request doesn’t matter, except when it comes to criminal justice records, which cannot be used for commercial purposes. Records that are covered under the Act include any records from a state agency or government-financed entity, including the executive and legislative branches. Some court records are covered and some excluded depending on the nature of the record, as determined by the Criminal Justice Records Act. Other records that are excluded by CORA include:
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Background checks in the state of Colorado are administered by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI), a division of the Department of Public Safety. A criminal background check is requested online through the state’s records check page and can be requested by anyone. Information required is a first and last name and date of birth. Social security number and other identifiers are optional. The report will contain a criminal history but will not report warrant information, sealed records, or juvenile information as those are not consideredpublic record.
Colorado Jail and Inmate Records
If you are looking for current information on offenders in the state of Colorado or any help with victim services, you can go through the Colorado Department of Corrections. The website has its own page for an offender search that you will need to enter in the offender DocNo, or Last Name and First Name. You will be given a picture of the offender, if available, a physical description, their current location, list of charges, and estimated release date.
Any information about the Colorado courts system can be obtainedthrough their mainadministrator of the courts website. Access to many trial court case documents is available only on LexisNexis. However, if you want to obtain copies of the court documents, you will need to visit or contact the court in which the case was filed.
Vital records in Colorado, such as birth, death, marriage, and divorce certificates are administered by the state Department of Public Health & Environment. There are several ways to order any of these certificates:
How far back the records go and eligibility for making a request depend upon the type of record.
Because background checks conducted for employment have different requirements, it’s important to learn a little bit about what’s required. Below you’ll find an introduction to things you need to know about running background checks on potential employees in Colorado:
Employers conduct employment background checks to verify the information supplied by applicants prior to hiring. A thorough background check protects the company’s reputation and provides a safer work environment for all employees. Employers have the responsibility of ensuring the safety of current and future employees and protecting the company’s reputation and well-being. Even though all states must adhere to federal regulations regarding pre-employment screening checks, most states have their own restrictions and requirements. Employers in Colorado recognize the importance of conducting background checks on potential future employees. It should be one of the most important parts of the entire hiring process.
Job applicants in Colorado must supply certain information such as date of birth, social security number and address on a job application. The potential employee’s information is researched for criminal court records, terrorist databases, sex offender lists and FBI wanted lists. It is legal in the state of Colorado to obtain information regarding possible criminal acts committed by the applicant. The time limit is seven years. All court records including misdemeanor and felony records are checked.
Criminal background checks must be conducted for all prospective employees in public and private education. The checks must include information regarding any charges of child abuse or endangerment, neglect, sexual offenses or any other felony. A background check for any educational professional cannot be more than two years old.
All applicants for positions in the medical professions in Colorado must submit to a criminal background check similar to educators. This includes individuals working in hospitals, medical clinics and nursing home.
Employers in Colorado cannot consider information regarding credit when making employment decisions unless the information is relevant for the position being considered. The report must be linked to the potential position before the credit information can be used. If credit information is directly related to the potential position, it can be a deciding factor in the employment process. If the report indicates any irregularities, the applicant must be allowed to explain.
In Colorado, employers are required by law to conduct a credit check for potential employees in this industry. They are also subject to criminal background checks. There are no exceptions to this law. The information obtained from the credit report must be directly related to the potential job.
Executives and management personnel are exceptions to the law that prohibits employers from using consumer credit information as a basis for hiring, firing or making a compensation adjustment. The credit standing, credit capacity and credit history are examined through credit background checks for contractors involved in defense or national security.
The state of Colorado wants to help employers make informed decisions when hiring new employees. Colorado understands the importance of helping employers obtain criminal background records quickly, while maintaining accuracy. The state maintains a central records archive containing criminal conviction data. Because many applicants misrepresent information or try to embellish their resumes, conducting a criminal background check helps employers eliminate those who provide false information.
Background check reports help employers validate important information regarding education and prior employment prior to hiring. The information obtained from various sources will help employers by sending up a red flag if discrepancies are found. Colorado has found that comprehensive background checks reduce hiring liability by eliminating unqualified potential employees. Workplace theft rates have been reduced along with violence and excessive absenteeism. Insurance companies even give companies discounts because of background check requirements of the state.
Background checks in Colorado enable employers to verify the credentials of all potential employees. It takes the guesswork out of the hiring process and allows for more informed hiring decisions. When all employees are properly screened prior to hiring, the entire organization benefits. Criminal background checks protect the employer and the employees from potential problems that can arise.
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Illinois’s Freedom of Information Act (IL FOIA) grants individuals the statutory right to access, inspect and copy many government documents and materials. Additionally, anyone who places a request for public documents does not need to disclose their reasoning for desiring the information they are searching out.
Individuals looking to access public records are entitled to view and copy any records in association with public bodies such as state universities and colleges, cities, townships and villages, as well as executive, legislative and administrative government agencies. The designation of an item as public record is rather broad, and it includes any maps, books, photographs, cards, tapes, microfilms, electronic media or other materials that have been sent, received or stored by a public body.
While many documents and materials are accessible, some exemptions apply that allow a government body to deny a request for public records. These exemptions include not supplying trade secrets, financial information or any answer keys that could be used to compromise the validity of a formal test. Although these exemptions apply to many documents, a public body must still present any portion of an otherwise exempt document that does not violate any exemptions.
For more information regarding the public records laws of Illinois, examine chapter 5, act 140 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes in its entirety.
The Illinois Uniform Conviction Information Act (UCIA) mandates that all criminal history records conviction information that has been maintained or collected by the Illinois State Police be made available to the public. These public records only contain conviction information, however, and do not supply other instances of interaction with law enforcement.
In order to acquire criminal records, there must be a request form and fee payment delivered to the Illinois Bureau of Identification. Request forms can either be non-fingerprint or fingerprint based, the latter confirming positive identification of the person to whom the fingerprints on the request form belong.
The Illinois State Police are also responsible for issuing state background checks, and they have created a guide to examining Illinois background checks.
Illinois jail and inmate records can be found through the Illinois Department of Corrections. A name-based search database has been created for online inmate searches, and it can be accessed on the Illinois Department of Corrections website.
More information regarding Illinois’s jail and inmate records can be found within Illinois’s Victim Notification Service (VINE) Profile.
Illinois Court Records at the state and local levels can be obtained by submitting a written request to the clerk at the court in which the case was held. They will usually be able to supply individuals with this form upon request. Many records are accessible by right, but rights of access do not cover all court records in Illinois.
The contact information for the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts can be found on the Illinois Courts government webpage.
Vital Records are handled by the Illinois Department of Public Health and include birth records, death records, marriage records, dissolution of marriage records, adoption records, genealogy records, civil union records and dissolution of civil union records. The earliest Illinois birth and death records on file date back to 1877, with formal state registration beginning in 1916. Birth records are not public records in the state of Illinois, and only very few people are entitle to receive copies of them. Birth certificates older than 75 years, however, can be accessed for purposes of genealogical research.
Illinois vital records can be accessed by placing a request through the county clerk’s office.
Let’s also look at the details of employment background checks conducted in Illinois.
IL is an employment “at will” state meaning that employment can be terminated at any time by either the employer or employee– although the employer cannot discharge an employee based on race, age, sex, or disability. Generally, one must be at least 16 years of age to be employed. Exceptions are granted to minors– specifically 14 and 15 year-old– working in non-hazardous professions and only working during non-school hours. Professions deemed hazardous include ones that may seem less than obvious such as working at an ice-skating rink or bowling alley.
There is no law that requires nor prohibits employers from conducting a drug screening in Illinois. Many may fall prey to the misconception that the Illinois Drug Free Workplace Act enforces a drug test; rather, it simply states that workplaces must be free from drugs. If one is to do drugs off the job, they don’t fit this provision. This law applies to employers with 25 or more employees, and mirrors a federal law called the Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988.
Employers that qualify under the Illinois Drug Free Workplace Act must:
In Illinois, employers may consider prior convictions when making employment decisions. However, use of arrest information or sealed or expunged convictions is prohibited. As long as a firm gets permission from the subject who is being checked, said firm can obtain criminal background checks from either a private firm or the IL state police. Background screenings can be made required in order to advance in the employment process.
If one is a non-licensed health care worker providing direct care to patients in Illinois, they are required to have criminal background checks performed by the Illinois State Police. The same rule of conducting criminal background checks applies to individuals applying for positions involving direct, daily contact with students anywhere within a school district in Illinois.
Medical and psychiatric exams can be used to screen applicants to see if they would be able to perform the position in question safely and efficiently. However, under no circumstances may such an exam discriminate against an applicant with disabilities. A safeguard against discrimination occurring has become the implementation of such a test only after a position has already been offered. In other words, employments at that point is conditional upon passing the test of ability. As long as the applicant can perform the conditions of the job safely and efficiently either with or without reasonable accommodation, an employer may not discriminate based upon disability.
If an employer uses medical and psychiatric exams, they must use them on all applicants. Additionally, they must come last in terms of all other types of screening used– this is also separately required by the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. Employers must make reasonable accommodations when appropriate, and take all necessary steps to keep medical information confidential. This includes medical examinations and test results. The doctor performing any medical examination should be informed of the precise nature and demands of the position so that they can examine the applicant in terms of the specific job requirements.
Illinois used to be a state in which one could be screened for employment in terms of credit score. However, in 2010, then IL Governor Pat Quinn signed a bill into law that prohibited such a practice. There are certain exceptions to this rule, which include positions in which bonding or security is required per state or federal law, where there is unsupervised access to more than $2,500, signatory power over businesses assets of more than $100, management or control over the business, and access to personal, financial or confidential information, trade secrets, or state or national security information. If an employer does request a credit check, the page on which the job applicant signs must only concern the credit check– e.g. nothing else extraneous may be on the page.
Outside of Illinois, credit checks have been fairly popular in practice, with over 60 per cent of employers doing one in some regard.
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North Carolina’s Public Records Law grants individuals the statutory right to inspect and copy a large amount of North Carolina public records. This is based on the belief of North Carolina that the information held within the public records is the property of the people.
The law dictates that any record of a public agency is accessible to the public through a request. A public agency is defined broadly as any agency of North Carolina government or one of its subdivisions. Within this scope fall public offices, institutions, boards, bureaus, councils, departments and commissions serving the state government.
The materials defined as public record are also broad, including any document, map, paper, letter, book, photograph, film or electronic data made or received in regards to public business by a government agency. Any of these items can be requested, but an agency may deny a request if an exemption is applicable. Exemptions include not divulging information regarding certain government lawsuit settlements, withholding access to criminal investigation records and multiple others.
For further information regarding North Carolina’s public records law, examine chapter 132 of North Carolina’s General Statute in its entirety.
North Carolina criminal records are maintained and distributed by the North Carolina Division of Adult Correction. Only Criminal Justice personnel may apply to receive information maintained in the offender information online database that has been password protected, as these precautions have been set in place so only authorized personnel may access the information.
There is a public name-based search database as well, which can be used to search for offenders by name, offender number, gender, race, ethnic group, birth data and age range. The database entry for any given offender may include information regarding their name, offender number, sentence type, probation status and offense date. The public online database can be found on the North Carolina Department of Public Safety website.
The North Carolina Court System is responsible for overseeing and distributing state issued background checks. Individuals may request a one-time background check or continue the process with ongoing criminal background checks. More information regarding the two options can be found on The North Carolina Court System website.
Jail and inmate records for North Carolina may be found using the same name-based search database as for North Carolina criminal records, which is run by the North Carolina Department of Public Safety. Searches for jail and inmate records can be conducted using the inmate’s name, offender number, gender, race, ethnic group or birth date. The information reaped from a search can include the offender’s name, gender, race, incarceration stats, current location and sentence history.
More information regarding North Carolina’s jail and inmate records can be found within North Carolina’s Victim Notification Service (VINE) Profile.
North Carolina Court Records are, for the most part, available to public access and copying. The right to access court documents is not absolute, however, and contacting the court clerk before requesting documents will help with a more successful search.
Online requests can be made through the Eastern District of North Carolina United States District Court website for cases within the Eastern District of North Carolina only.
Further information regarding requesting North Carolina Court Records can be found on the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts website.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is responsible for maintaining and distributing North Carolina Vital Records. These records include birth, death, marriage and divorce certificates. Birth certificates are available from 1913, death records are available from 1930, marriage certificates are available form 1962, divorce certificates are available from 1958 and fetal death reports are available from 2001.
Certificates may be ordered using the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services website. Same day service for vital records is available when visiting the walk-in window at the Raleigh location of the department.
If you need North Carolina background checks specifically for employment, read on!
As far as criminal background checks go, North Carolina carries a slightly easier system than many states. While North Carolina is lighter than most states, many professions still require that an employee screening be done prior to employment.
There a multitude of professions in NC that require a criminal check by the state. These positions include anyone applying to:
• Nursing homes
• Mental health facilities
• Home care agencies
• Day care facilities
• Child Placement agencies
• Substance abuse facilities
• Any for profit or non profit institution that provides care to children, the sick, disabled or senior citizens.
While an employee background check is required for all of these positions, it is important to note that the employer cannot just start a background check. All employers are required by North Carolina state law to gain consent from prospective employees prior to starting a background check. Any employee that does not want a background check does not have to be employed.
There are a few things to consider when employers conduct a background check. These include the level of a particular crime. Was it a felony? How serious was the crime? How frequently did it occur? The employer must also consider when the crime occurred and how old the potential employee was when the crime was committed. On top of this, it is important to take into consideration the circumstances surrounding a potential crime and why the future employee might have committed the crime.
Even if an applicant has committed a serious crime, it is not enough to prevent them from getting the job. The employer has to consider a number of factors and if it is deemed acceptable, the applicant may still be hired. If the employee is not hired, the employer has the right to tell the applicant why they were barred from the job, but they are not allowed to show the applicant the criminal record they obtained.
Applicants are protected by two separate laws regarding employment screening. The Fair Credit Reporting Act provides protection to applicants that may have been the victim of inaccurate criminal records. Many employers hire a third-party organization to handle the employment screening.
In North Carolina, it is not required for applicants to let employers know about expunged crimes and employers are not permitted to ask if an applicant has had any crimes expunged from their record. If these expunged crimes are uncovered during a background check, it can greatly hinder one’s ability to get hired.
Depending on what type of job one is applying for, the background check laws differ. Whether it be a teacher, nurse, doctor, or barber, North Carolina separates the laws regarding employment based on the type of job and licensing board that the job reports with and oversees. According to law 115C-296, the North Carolina State Board of Education is prohibited from hiring anyone with a criminal record.
The same thing applies to the nursing occupation. Any nurse that has committed a crime that the state views as making them incapable of being a competent nurse can be barred from being hired.
Barbers also face a similar dilemma when looking for jobs, albeit one that is more strict. Barbers may be refused a job if they have committed any felony at all. Their employers do not have to consider what the felony was or the circumstances surrounding that felony at all. The barber law can be viewed at the following website.
North Carolina is overall a friendly state for employees and potential hires. By preventing employers from seeing expunged crimes and establishing two solid laws that protect prospective employees. Employers are forced to consider the circumstances surrounding a crime unlike in other states where this is not required. North Carolina remains a spot that is great to be a potential hire even if a potential criminal record exists.
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Many public records can be obtained relatively easily in Texas, although certain application requirements and fees are often imposed. In some cases, additional measures may also be demanded in order to ensure public safety. Common documents, such as criminal histories, court reports or vital records, can often be requested through a simple online application. The maintenance and delivery of these records fall under multiple government agencies, but many will be overseen by either the Texas Department of Public Safety or the Texas Office of Court Administration.
Additionally, Texas’s Public Information Act, also known as Texas Government Code 522, grants citizens the right to access the records of government bodies and representatives. Although all government information is presumed to be available without questioning, there are some exceptions to the rule. For instance, any information that has been deemed confidential by law, either constitutionally, statutorily or judicially, or any document that currently has an exception pending at the time of the request, is not immediately accessible. Otherwise, all public records, including the voting history of a government employee, can be viewed or copied upon request.For further clarification regarding information availability and exemption, examine Texas Government Code 522 in its entirety.
Texas criminal and arrest records for individuals charged with Class B misdemeanor or greater violations are publicly available for viewing and copying. These records include disposition of cases, convictions and deferred adjudications. All documents can be searched for using the website for the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Background and criminal history checks can be obtained through the Department of Public Safety. These records can be accessed by either utilizing the online name-based search function or by submitting a completed authorized fingerprint card along with the appropriate fee to the Department of Public Safety.
As with criminal and arrest histories, the Texas Department of Public Safety is responsible for issuing official state background checks. In Texas, background checks are conducted by name-based search only through the Department of Public Safety’s Conviction Database, which is populated with the information stored in Texas’s Computerized Criminal History system.
State or county level court records can be obtained through the Texas Office of Court Administration. Overseen by the Texas Supreme Court, the Office of Court Administration is responsible for maintaining and providing information, documents and resources involving the court system of the state of Texas. More information regarding the procurement of court records can be found on the official Open Records Policy webpage. Contacting the specific county or municipal court in which the case was tried may also yield results.
Texas Vital Records are overseen by the Texas Department of State Health Services and can be requested either online or in person. Birth, death, marriage and divorce certificates can all be ordered online using this application to order Texas Vital Records. Payment for these orders can be made with a credit card or major debit card, and they are usually processed within 10 to 15 business days. Amendments to Vital Records can be requested by following the guidelines listed on the Texas Vital Statistics website.
Verification of existing records may also be requested through the Texas Department of State Health Services, but the fees associated with locating the document are nonrefundable, even if the documents does not exist.