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  1. #1
    knowledge14 Guest

    Hiring and criminal background checks

    What is the name of your state? Ohio
    I have 5 or 6 misdemeanors on my record and I have read that "Federal Law" states an employer can only go back 7 years and use anything found w/in the last 7 years to determine employment. Is this true and how does this work? Does this override state laws? What are the Ohio laws regarding this?

    If an employer does a background check won't they get my entire background, not just the last 7 years? It's all public information..

    If an application asks me about my criminal background, is there a law that says I have to answer it? Usually I do answer it because I figure they can find out easily online these days.. But isn't this discrimination?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    No, it is not true. I have no idea where so many people got that idea (you're by no means the first to ask that question) but Federal law does not say any such thing; nor do most state laws. Some, but by no means all, states limit the use an employer can make of this information. However, in most states that does not mean they cannot ask for it.

    If an employer does a background check they will get whatever they ask for. If they ask for the last five years they will get the last five years. If they ask for everything they will get everything. That's assuming they ask for criminal records to begin with; not all employers do. All background checks are not created equal.

    There is no law requiring you to answer any questions about criminal history; however, failure to do so can and very likely will result in the employer refusing to hire you and the employer will be quite legal. No, that is not illegal discrimination - criminals are not a protected group.

  3. #3
    knowledge14 Guest

    7 years

    I found the 7 year Federal law under either the EEOC or the FCRA website, which I read on an Human Resources website. I know of some big companies that follow the 7 year rule so it must be something..

  4. #4
    knowledge14 Guest

    Fair Credit Reporting Act


    This is what I found regarding the 7 year limit an employer can go back and check your records. I found it under the FCRA "Fair Credit Reporting Act".


    § 605. Requirements relating to information contained in consumer reports [15 U.S.C. § 1681c]

    (a) Information excluded from consumer reports. Except as authorized under subsection (b) of this section, no consumer reporting agency may make any consumer report containing any of the following items of information:

    (1) Cases under title 11 [United States Code] or under the Bankruptcy Act that, from the date of entry of the order for relief or the date of adjudication, as the case may be, antedate the report by more than 10 years.

    (2) Civil suits, civil judgments, and records of arrest that from date of entry, antedate the report by more than seven years or until the governing statute of limitations has expired, whichever is the longer period.

    (3) Paid tax liens which, from date of payment, antedate the report by more than seven years.

    (4) Accounts placed for collection or charged to profit and loss which antedate the report by more than seven years.(1)

    (5) Any other adverse item of information, other than records of convictions of crimes which antedates the report by more than seven years.1

    (b) Exempted cases. The provisions of subsection (a) of this section are not applicable in the case of any consumer credit report to be used in connection with

    (1) a credit transaction involving, or which may reasonably be expected to involve, a principal amount of $150,000 or more;

    (2) the underwriting of life insurance involving, or which may reasonably be expected to involve, a face amount of $150,000 or more; or

    (3) the employment of any individual at an annual salary which equals, or which may reasonably be expected to equal $75,000, or more.

    From what I have been reading the only way they are allowed to check further back than 7 years is if you make more than $75K.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    What you are failing to take into consideration is that FCRA ONLY applies if the employer is using a third party agency to run the check, which is by no means always the case.

    If the employer is running their own check, FCRA does not apply and neither does a 7 year limitation, unless there is some state out there that has a similar state law.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    W Indiana


    If you reread your own posting of the FCRA rules, you will see that you are not protected even after seven years.

    The section you note (#2) talks about ARRESTS. You were not "arrested," you were "convicted."

    If you look at #5, it mentions that adverse information OTHER THAN criminal convictions should be expunged after seven years.

    Nothing in what you posted indicates convictions EVER have to be expunged.

    So, even if the FCRA applies to the background check done by the employer, the seven year limit on convictions does not.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    And FCRA does not apply at all to what an employer can ask on the application form or at interview.

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