The Pennsylvania background check is one of the most crucial steps in the hiring process, which also includes reviewing applications, conducting interviews, and ultimately deciding whether to extend an offer. You can get a more complete picture of a potential employee by running a background check on them. Background lookups can take a lot of time, and it’s not always clear where to start.
Employers are required to abide by federal, state, and local laws governing background checks, the proper handling of their findings, and respect for job applicants’ and employees’ privacy. Although they may also rely on national records searches or even an FBI criminal history clearance, Pennsylvania background checks frequently include criminal records searches using the Pennsylvania Access to Criminal History (PATCH) online database.
Background Check Regulations in Pennsylvania
Pre-employment background checks are restricted by a number of state laws in Pennsylvania, including:
Criminal History Record Information Act of Pennsylvania
Employers must only take into account felony and misdemeanor convictions when making hiring decisions. Public and private employers in the Commonwealth are not allowed to outright refuse to hire people with criminal records. Summary offenses, arrests for misdemeanors or felonies, and court cases that ended without a conviction must be ignored.
Check to see if any criminal convictions found during a background check have a particular impact on the applicant’s suitability for the job.
Pennsylvania’s Human Resources Fair Chance Hiring Policy
This “ban-the-box” clause outlaws asking applicants for public employment in state agencies under the governor’s authority about their criminal history. Pennsylvania departments are only allowed by law to check a candidate’s criminal history after making a conditional job offer. Only if the results of a background check have a direct bearing on the job in question may an offer of employment or promotion be withdrawn on that basis.
Clean Slate Law of Pennsylvania
It was passed in 2018 and, as long as any court-ordered restitution has been paid, automatically blocks information on misdemeanor criminal convictions that are 10 years or older. This means that neither a Pennsylvania background check nor a hiring decision can take those convictions into account.
Many Pennsylvania cities and counties have passed local fair hiring laws that further restrict background check practices in their jurisdictions in addition to these state laws. Employers with multiple locations throughout the Commonwealth or those who use remote workers residing all over the state may find this confusing. Employers should always adhere to the strictest local laws when in doubt.
Pennsylvania employers must also abide by the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The FCRA stipulates the steps that must be taken for candidates to be informed of the results of background checks, as well as the requirement that employers follow a two-step adverse action process to give candidates a chance to respond to any background check findings that might result in a decision not to hire or promote them.
You might have to adhere to additional restrictions relating to pre-employment candidate screenings depending on where in Pennsylvania your company is located.
Employers cannot typically use applicant or employee credit history information for hiring decisions in Philadelphia. Since July 2016, this ordinance has been in force. The following situations exempt employers from following the ordinance:
- Employers are permitted by federal or state law to use applicant or employee credit history information.
- The job at hand entails management, fiduciary, or supervisory duties.
- Access to “sensitive financial information” will be required for the position.
- The employee will have to access data that “derives substantial value from secrecy” and is “confidential or proprietary.”
- There will be “significant financial responsibility” for the employee.
Retail employees are not covered by these exemptions.
Employers who are exempt from this requirement must: 1) notify the person in writing if they take adverse action against applicants or employees based on credit history information; 2) provide a copy or transcript of the relevant credit information; and 3) give the applicant or employee an opportunity to clarify the credit history details.
What Turns Up on a Background Check for a PA?
- You can learn important details about a potential employee’s background and history by running a background check on them. This comprises:
- Verifying an applicant’s identity allows you to make sure they are who they say they are.
- Verify the applicant’s prior education and employment to make sure they have the relevant experience to do the job well.
- You can check a candidate’s criminal history to make sure they are not on any registered offender lists by knowing their background.
Findings from a Pennsylvania background check assist you in making the best hiring choice for your business.
Additionally, while background checks are not required for all applicants, they are required for some positions, such as those in the education industry. A candidate for this position must pass a state and federal criminal records check as well as a Department of Human Services Child Abuse History Clearance.
Pennsylvania Access To Criminal History (PATCH) is a web-based software program developed by the Pennsylvania State Police. Results from online applications are frequently received right away. Please take note of the following if results are delayed:
- If you enter your email address, PATCH will send you messages that say:
- When your clearance results are finished, ready for review, and ready to print. That the clearance request was received.
- Please write down the control number if you do not supply an email address so that you can log back into the PATCH system and retrieve the clearance results once they are finished.
Please follow these instructions if you require a paper copy of the application:
- “Pennsylvania Access to Criminal History (PATCH)” should be visited.
- Select “Help” from the menu at the top of the page.
- The “Help” option will appear with a drop-down menu when you hover over it.
- Click the form you want to review and print as you scroll down.
Following and observing these Pennsylvania background check tips will help you land the information you need in no time.