State Background Check Rules and Regulations

State Background Check Rules and Regulations

How background checks can vary state to state and what you need to know.

State Background Check Rules and Regulations

Employment background checks are an essential aspect of the hiring process, as they help employers ensure they are hiring the right candidate for the job. However, the rules and regulations surrounding background checks can vary by state, making it important for employers to understand the requirements in their specific state. In this blog, we will explore state background check rules and regulations and provide statistics and sources to support our findings.

One of the main differences in employment background checks between states is what information can be included in the background check. Some states have restrictions on what employers can consider, such as prohibiting employers from asking about criminal records until after a job offer has been made.

Ban The Box Laws by State and Criminal History Regulations

According to the National Employment Law Project, as of 2021, 36 states and over 150 cities and counties have adopted “Ban the Box” policies that delay inquiries into an applicant’s criminal history until later in the hiring process. The purpose of these policies is to help give individuals with criminal records a fair chance at obtaining employment.

Another difference between states is the length of time that certain information can be considered in a background check. For example, some states limit how far back employers can go when considering an applicant’s criminal history. The National Employment Law Project reports that as of 2021, over 30 states have some form of “time-limiting” policy for criminal records.

State Background Check Rules - Example: California

Moreover, some states require additional steps to be taken in the background check process. For example, in California, employers must comply with the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) when conducting background checks, which requires them to provide applicants with notice of their rights and obtain written authorization before conducting the check. In addition, some states require employers to provide a copy of the background check report to the applicant, as well as any adverse action taken based on the report.

Cost of a State Background Check

The cost of background checks can also vary by state. According to a 2021 survey by, the average cost of a pre-employment background check in the United States is $58.16. However, the cost can be higher or lower depending on the state and the specific type of background check being conducted.

Summary of State Background Check Rules and Regulations

In summary, employment background checks can differ by state in terms of what information can be considered, how far back employers can go, additional steps that must be taken, and the cost of the check. It is essential for employers to understand the requirements in their specific state to ensure they are complying with all applicable laws and regulations.

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