Employee background checks absolutely differ from state to state. The reality is that if an employer wants to find out information about an applicant, going on their state website will often give them enough information about the prospective employee. Other means are to do a background check, include a credit report and use the services of an outside background check company.
Most people who are looking for employment these days are not all squeaky clean. It would be foolish for an employer not to check out those he will be entrusting with financial information, as well as to verify the honesty and background of those who he ends up hiring for any non-financially sensitive positions.
There are states where you cannot obtain certain private information free. And there are others, despite privacy issues being there, where you can obtain criminal records (from your state) and even records of misdemeanors from other states. This is usually done, but not exclusively, by the Human Resources department of the company interested in any particular applicant.
Looking into court records, criminal and civil litigation reports, and credit reports is often done by an outside background check company. The volume of applications most companies receive for each open position makes this a way to minimize the paperwork that the Human Resources department has to be responsible for.
Not to belabor the point, that there are more potential applicants than there are open positions. Employers can to a certain extent afford to be choosy about whom they end up hiring. They also should investigate the applicant’s information on his application about its veracity. There is much information on the Internet, but not all states will grant unfettered access to it.
There are state and federal non-discrimination laws which, if not adhered to, can place the employer in legal trouble. It is not against the law to ask the question,”Have you been arrested?” But it is against the law to make a negative decision about this person due to his response.
In what ways do states differ in allowing easy access to certain online information?
Some give complete history with domestic and criminal incarcerations and arrests
Most states require that the applicant signs that he is aware and agrees to a background check to be done on him, including a credit check
It may include investigation of where the applicant lived for the past five years and where he currently lives
It can be done by the Human Resources department of the company or by an outside employee screening company
Any information gotten for the possible employment of any particular applicant cannot be used for any other purpose. The information is the private property of the applicant and he has the right to ask for a copy of it or, if he is not hired, for the information to be destroyed.