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We provide background check and drug screening services for companies seeking to hire new employees. Regardless of what industry your company is in, it’s always recommended to include some level of employment screening in your hiring process. Today on the blog we wanted to open up a little thinking into background checks, more specifically what an employer CANNOT see when seeking information regarding the background of an individual. 

Today on the blog we will touch on what those things are so you can be best educated on what you can or cannot see on a pre-employment background check

The Fair Credit Reporting Act

The Fair Credit Reporting act, better known as the FCRA is the primary determination for what can or cannot be included on a background check performed by third-party agencies. FCRA standards protect applicants’ rights throughout the hiring process. 

Arrests Records

Public employers are prevented from inquiring about any convictions until after the first interview. Private employers are not allowed to ask about arrests, or sealed records. Even if such information is provided without asking, employers are not allowed to discipline, refuse to hire, or terminate an employee based on facts about arrests or charges. 

The FCRA prohibits background screening firms from reporting any arrest record or adverse non-conviction information older than 7 years.


According to the FCRA, bankruptcies after 10 years from the date bankruptcy is filed or discharged cannot be reported. 

Minor Offenses

In most circumstances minor offenses will be omitted from a background check report. Things like traffic violations, jaywalking, or littering don’t typically show. Because these types of infractions are not considered “crimes,” but “infractions,” they are only punishable by small fines, therefore don’t count as criminal convictions. There are some cases where related offenses become misdemeanors due to severity. This may also vary from state to state.

Expunged or Sealed Records

Expungement essentially means erased or removed. Some charges can become eligible for expungement. Similarly, some cases may be sealed, meaning it can’t be publicly accessed. As long as a record is sealed or expunged, it won’t show up on a typical background check.

Juvenile Records

This could vary depending on what state you are in, but typically juvenile records won’t show up on a criminal background check. The majority of states have protocols where juvenile records are automatically sealed upon the individual turning 18. While juvenile records won’t appear, they do still remain on the record, they just can’t be reported by a third party background screening company.

State-Based Regulations

Depending on where you are, you should be aware of your state’s background check laws. When it comes to criminal records, every state has varying laws and regulations that watch over screening policies. No matter who you partner with for background screening services, ensure they are up to speed on your state’s regulations. Some states don’t allow reporting of marijuana-related incidents, and some don’t allow the reporting of pending charges. What can or cannot show up oftentimes depends on where you are in the country.

If you need questions answered about your current  background screening policy, don’t hesitate to reach out. We are committed to helping business owners better understand the importance of background screening, and helping companies make better hiring decisions. Stay tuned here on the blog for more insights and information and be sure to follow our company page on Linkedin!