Delaware has background checks down to an art. Whether you live in the state or not, the process for applying and receiving a background check for employment couldn’t be simpler.
Basic Information about Delaware Background Checks
Delaware has created a very efficient system for completing background checks. One application to a single agency will give an employer all the information they need about a potential hire.
The State Bureau of Identification (SBI) houses all criminal history records. Several agencies report their information to the SBI, so employers don’t have to search multiple databases for a complete criminal background check.
In some cases, the employer pays fingerprinting fees and is responsible for submitting requests for background checks – with permission from the applicant. Other times, the employer may task the applicant with getting fingerprints (and drug testing) done on their own, at their own cost, and on their own time.
Laws Specific to Delaware
Official Delaware background checks must include fingerprinting. Therefore, job applicants must consent to fingerprint, and they must also visit a screening center where a licensed law enforcement official can complete the applicant’s fingerprints.
Effective June 2018, fingerprints are valid for 6 months when used to obtain Criminal History Reports in Delaware. However, employers can require an applicant to go back for re-screening within 6 months of their last fingerprinting.
The Background Check Center is the tool that all Delaware employers use when requesting official background checks.
This program, run by Delaware Health; Social Services (DHSS), searches all of the following organizations and registries, so it is the one place where employers can find every piece of information about potential employees:
- State and Federal Criminal Background Checks
- Certified Nursing Assistant Registry
- Adult Abuse Registry
- Child Protection Registry
- Sex Offender Registry
- Drug Screening results
- Office of the Inspector General Registry
- Division of Professional Regulation Registry
These organizations file information with the BCC.
Of course, applicants must sign a release to the employer for fingerprinting (and, therefore, a state and federal background check).
All employers in these fields have access to the Background Check Center (BCC) hosted by the Delaware Health; Social Services division, meaning that every employer gets the same information from the same sources, streamlining the entire process.
The BCC even gives employers directions about how to submit a criminal background check request, tips for a smoother process, and how to explain the process to applicants.
Background Check Fees
Obtaining an official criminal background check for Delaware employment costs $52, payable to the Delaware State Police.
To include federal criminal records along with state information costs $65. Most employers will require this type.
Each issuing location has specific rules about what methods of payment they accept, so be prepared with the correct payment method to make the process go more quickly.
Free Delaware Background Checks
Free background checks are not considered official in Delaware because they do not include fingerprinting. Therefore, as an employer or an employee, a free background checking site will probably not report the necessary information.
Delaware “Ban the Box” Laws
House Bill 167, introduced “ban the box laws” to Delaware. This law, in effect since 2014, prevents employers from discriminating against those with a criminal record.
Employers cannot inquire about a person’s criminal background unless it is relevant to the job position If an applicant is applying for a job with the Department of Corrections, for example, Delaware’s HB 167 would not apply.
Otherwise, the employer must complete first-round interviews and offer the applicant a conditional employment offer before requiring a criminal background check.
According to government officials, this law is not meant to encourage the hire of formerly incarcerated people, but to give them a chance to get their foot in the door, so to speak, requiring employers to first look at their qualifications before criminal history.
Private employers do not have to abide by the mandate, although this can change if that contractor works with any government agency, in which case, the private employer may be required to abide by HB 167.
Private contractors’ compliance with the law – when it is not required – is noted by the state of Delaware when hiring from a pool of contractors for government contracts, so it is in those employers’ best interest to follow “Ban the Box” practices in all hiring situations.
What is on a Delaware Background Check?
When an employer receives your criminal background check, the following items will be present, if applicable:
- State-level felonies and misdemeanors. Arrests will not typically show up – only convictions.
- Federal felonies and misdemeanors. Any convictions in the U.S., including federal crimes and convictions in other states.
- Arrests that are pending prosecution. Because these cases are incomplete, they may also be on a criminal background check
- Nursing assistant licenses and license revocations
- Adult or child abuse involvement. Includes personal and professional cases.
- Sex-offender status. This is an item that may not “fall off” your background check.
What will a Delaware Job Background Check Show?
Because the BCC holds information for all reporting organizations, this is also where employers will go to do an employment background check.
In addition to the information above, your background check may include the following:
- Pre-employment drug screening. If your potential employer sent you for drug testing before the check was completed, it may appear on the document.
- Professional licensees. Delaware offers professional licensing in every area of business, from accounting and architecture to social work and veterinary medicine. This is different from a business license, and most professionals have both.
Your complete background check also may include letters from previous employers verifying your work record while employed with their organization.
Reasons a Delaware Employer Might Run a Criminal Background Check
Delaware is like most other states in the U.S. concerning background checks. Many businesses require them as part of their standard employment screening.
Certain jobs, like teaching positions and healthcare, always require them. Delaware private schools now have the ability to do background checks on applicants, just like public schools.
The Department of Health Care Quality sets forth extensive hiring guidelines for long-term care facilities, requiring background checks and drug testing for these facilities, including nursing homes and home health agencies.
According to Delaware Code (Title 16, Chapter 11, which deals with long-term care facilities), applicants can still be hired even if they receive a “disqualified” on their criminal background check. The employer is allowed to hire that person on a conditional or trial basis.
How Far Back do Background Checks Go in Delaware?
There are some exceptions, but most states have a generic 7-year period for background checks. Exceptions apply, depending on the severity of the crime and the position the applicant is seeking.
Delaware has a slightly more complicated system. Employers can see back to the previous 10 years for felony convictions and the previous 5 years for misdemeanors. Credit checks and driving records can represent a particular time period or the individual’s entire record.
That said, the state encourages applicants to look at the circumstances of the conviction. The state encourages employers to look at these things if an applicant has a felony or misdemeanor on his or her criminal background check:
- The type of crime and its relevance to the position that he or she is seeking
- The applicant’s efforts to rehabilitate and/or records of good conduct
- The risk of the applicant having access to commit the same kind of crime in the position sought
- The applicant’s current circumstances and the likelihood of the same offense
- Time since the crime was committed
How Long Does a Background Check Take in Delaware?
The SBI does not give an official time frame for the return of background checks, but the agency forwards results to the employer seeking the report as soon as possible. The average time is 2-3 weeks.
The speed with which the SBI is able to return background checks is based on the volume of requests it receives within the same period and when the requests are received. For example, if your request is sent toward the end of the week or just before a state or national holiday, you can expect a slight delay.
How Long Does a Background Check Take for a Gun in Delaware?
Firearms dealers must run a criminal background check before selling, or “transferring,” a firearm in Delaware.
States are given the option to use the FBI to run firearms background checks for them or to run the checks themselves. Delaware had chosen to run all firearms sales through the FBI’s background checking system, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
Generally, the NICS returns results very quickly – within 3 days. After 25 days (from the time that the request is sent to NICS), the seller may go ahead with the transfer of the firearm, even without a “proceed” from NICS. If a violation was going to show, it would most likely come up immediately.
How to Get a Background Check in Delaware
Third-party background check companies may be fine for some agencies, but these companies will only offer unofficial background checks. These are not accepted by most employers and are, therefore, not very useful.
For an official criminal history background check, you will need to be fingerprinted. Your potential employer will ask you to go to one of the three Delaware SBI background checking offices within the state to complete your part of the process:
- Kent County – This location is appointment only.
- Sussex County – This location does not accept cash.
- New Castle County
You will need a photo ID to complete your request. Anyone under 18 will also need a parent or guardian to be present. None of the locations take American Express or personal checks, so make sure you have an acceptable form of payment before you go.
Out-of-State Delaware Background Checks
If you are from out of state, you have the option to mail in your fingerprints (taken at any police agency near you). Any fingerprint card that the agency uses is acceptable, but if you would like to be prepared, visit the FBI’s website and print an FD-258 fingerprint card.
Accompanying your fingerprints should be a letter giving the Delaware State Police permission to do your background check. Include all of the following:
- Basic physical description: race, height, weight, sex, eye color, hair color
- Current name and aliases
- Date of birth
- Current address
- Place of birth
Delaware Driving Records
You must request your own driving record from the Delaware Department of Motor Vehicles, but a potential employer may request one from you.
You can request a driving record in-person or by mail – in-person being the faster method. An official driving record costs $25, regardless of the time frame that the record covers, from just three years to your entire driving record.
An employer is probably not going to require a driving record, but if they do, they’re looking for serious violations, not just speeding tickets. He or she also may want to see the cause of accidents – if they were drug or alcohol-related – or if you failed to appear in court after a violation.
Delaware Vital Records
It is even less common for employers to request state vital records than driving records. However, it is important to know how to obtain these documents. You will need to contact the Office of Vital Statistics Division of Public Health.
This office can provide birth, death, marriage, civil union certificates. You can also find marriage license applications and request heirloom certificates for display.
Who Can Request Vital Statistics Records in Delaware:
Not just anyone can request the records of your vital statistics. Here is a list of people who may request the documents listed above:
- The individual
- A spouse
- A parent for a child
- A child for a parent
- Legal guardian
- Legal representative
How Can I Run Compliant Background Checks in Delaware?
To be sure that your employee background check is compliant, observe the following guidelines:
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines – This organization explains how employers should handle candidates with a criminal record, as well as restricting the disqualification of a candidate based solely on race, gender, age, or some other physical characteristic. The EEOC even mandates that when the criminal record disqualifies a candidate, the employer must review that applicant individually.
- Ban the Box law – Delaware employers must satisfy two requirements before they can ask for a criminal background check:
- First, employers cannot run criminal background checks until after the first round of interviews is complete.
- In addition, the employer must have and have extended conditional employment to an applicant before requiring a background check.
- Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) Laws – Delaware employers must follow FCRA guidelines when requesting consumer information.
- Employers cannot run a credit check on an applicant until they have made that person a conditional offer of employment.
- Also, only certain jobs require a credit report as part of the employment background check in this state.
- Finally, no employer may access an applicant’s credit report without the applicant’s permission.
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – This act states that no person can be denied employment to someone with a disability. A wide range of disabilities are covered under the ADA.