Employers in Texas have access to a variety of screening tools for a Texas background check to find out more about a candidate’s background, including their criminal record and previous employment. Although Texas doesn’t have statewide laws governing fair hiring, adhering to federal regulations and industry best practices can help you obtain the data you require while upholding an impartial and lawful hiring procedure.
But when it comes to privacy laws, researching someone’s background can be quite challenging. Therefore, you might want to think about using reputable background check services that follow all Texas laws and regulations.
Background Check Laws for Employees
There are two federal laws that still apply even though Texas has no laws that prohibit the use of criminal histories in background checks.
Fair Credit Reporting Act
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is responsible for enforcing the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), a federal regulation that safeguards consumer privacy in relation to data that is gathered, stored, and reported by consumer reporting agencies (CRAs).
Providers of background checks who gather data and provide it to employers for employment background checks are subject to this law.
For jobs paying less than $75,000 per year, the FCRA prohibits CRAs from disclosing the following information when it is seven years old or older:
- Arrests that don’t result in convictions
- Civil litigation
These limitations don’t apply to positions paying $75,000 or more per year in wages.
Additionally, they do not prevent CRAs from disclosing additional pertinent background data regarding an applicant’s employment, education, possession of a professional license, and other factors.
The FCRA also specifies what employers must do if they come across unfavorable information during a background check for a job applicant.
An employer must follow the steps of the adverse action process and give the applicant a copy of their FCRA rights before deciding not to hire an applicant based on a background check.
The 1964 Civil Rights Act’s Title VII
Employers are prohibited from discriminating against applicants or employees based on their protected characteristics under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII).
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) upholds Title VII and has given employers instructions on how to handle information about arrests and convictions discovered during background checks.
According to the EEOC’s guidelines, employers must individually evaluate each applicant’s criminal history by comparing it to the requirements of the position before rejecting them.
Equal Opportunity to Compete for Jobs Act
Federal ban-the-box legislation known as the Fair Chance to Compete for Jobs Act went into effect on December 20, 2021.
This law applies to federal agencies and contractors, and it forbids them from requesting information about criminal history when considering applicants.
Additionally, until they have extended a conditional job offer, covered federal contractors and agencies are not permitted to ask a candidate about their criminal history.
Exemptions apply to covered employers who are hiring for positions that, in accordance with federal or state law, call for criminal background checks.
Texas does not have any state employment background check laws, but it complies with the EEOC and FCRA. However, several regional governments have passed anti-box legislation.
These laws limit when an employer may inquire about a potential employee’s criminal history during the onboarding process. Around the country, more and more counties and cities are passing ban-the-box laws.
You should speak with your attorney to find out if your county or local government has passed a ban-the-box law.
The counties and cities with active ban-the-box laws are listed below.
- City of Austin Ban-the-Box Ordinance
- Harris County’s Fair Chance Policy
- City of DeSoto Ban-the-Box Ordinance
Types of Background Checks in Texas
There are many different screenings available, whether you’re checking into specific job or licensing requirements or figuring out a candidate’s overall qualifications for a job. Some of the background checks that employers frequently conduct in Texas are listed below:
Criminal background checks look up a candidate’s prior criminal history in national, federal, state, and local records.
Civil court checks look for civil domestic violence cases, bankruptcies, foreclosures, restraining orders, and lawsuits. The most important positions for these checks are those in management and finance.
Verifications of employment attest to the veracity of a candidate’s employment history.
Verifications of education examine institutions, enrollment dates, and degrees obtained.
Driving record checks look up a candidate’s license status, driving history, moving violations, and DUIs in state motor vehicle records for relevant positions that require driving.
Credit checks provide information about a candidate’s credit history, which may be especially important for jobs in the finance industry.
How to Request a Texas Background Check
The Texas Department of Public Safety, also known as TxDPS, oversees all background checks in the state of Texas. The state’s Conviction Database, run by this agency of government, is a repository for all publicly available criminal records obtained from the Computerized Criminal History (CCH) system.
The CCH database is distinct. Only authorized law enforcement and criminal justice organizations are permitted access to it, which contains all of the state’s criminal records from both public and private sources.
In contrast, it is simple to find public records in Texas, including criminal histories, court records, vital records, and more. Organizations can obtain copies of these records by contacting the Texas Department of Public Safety or the Texas Office of Court Administration.
Although your business is capable of conducting its own background checks, it is advisable to work with a third-party provider like iprospectcheck, BeenVerified, Instant Checkmate, Checkr. You will only have access to public records on your own. Public records may be instructive, but they don’t provide a complete picture of a candidate’s background and may leave out crucial details about arrests and convictions that come from private sources.
These are some of the tips that can help you achieve a successful Texas background check. Keeping and observing them will not only help you find the information you need but also avoid breaking background check laws in the state.