If you’re interested in getting a background check in Ohio, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s everything you need to know.
Background Check Laws In Ohio
When it comes to background check laws in Ohio, you need to be aware of two in particular:
- The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
- “Ban-the-Box” or Fair Hiring Laws
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
Federal, state, and local governments tend to have rules and regulations in place to protect people in the case of a background check. At the federal level, you must be aware of the Fair Credit Reporting Act or FCRA. That is a term that you’ll often see whenever it comes to the topic of background checks in Ohio and beyond.
Simply put, the FCRA monitors both companies and job candidates to ensure that any background checks are fair to all parties involved. That means it ensures fairness in what information is collected, how it’s collected, and how that information may be used. That’s especially true when it comes to making employment-related decisions.
Some states enact localized versions of the FCRA. Ohio does not. That means the state of Ohio follows the federal version of the FCRA the same way that many other states do.
“Ban-The-Box” or Fair Hiring Laws
Another common term you’ll come across when doing background checks in Ohio is “Ban-the-Box” laws, also known as Fair Hiring Laws. Some states do not have such regulations, but yes, Ohio does.
Simply put, these laws determine how and when a company can inquire about a candidate’s criminal history during the hiring process. Typically, that means companies cannot ask about a candidate’s criminal record during the recruitment process’s initial phases.
Suppose an employer makes an inquiry later in the process and finds information that disqualifies the candidate. If that’s the case, then “Ban-the-Box” laws in Ohio determine that the company needs to perform an individualized assessment of the situation before making a final decision.
Individualized Assessment: In this case, ‘individualized assessment’ means that the company must notify the candidate that they may be excluded from the process and provides them with an opportunity to demonstrate that they should not be excluded from the hiring process.
Where This Applies: In Ohio, ‘Ban-the-Box’ laws apply to public sector employees. The employer may only inquire about the candidate’s criminal history after making a conditional job offer.
What Shows Up On A Background Check In Ohio?
Background checks in Ohio can show a wide range of information. All of it depends on the type of background check that is being conducted, by whom, and for what reason.
Some common types of background checks that you can get in Ohio include:
- Pre-employment screening
- Criminal background checks
- Credit history checks
- Professional license checks
Those are just some common examples, though a lot of those background checks may overlap depending on the criteria provided by the person requesting the check.
Here’s an example. Suppose a company based in Ohio would like to do a background check on a job candidate. If that’s the case, then they may request a background check report that includes:
- Verification of the candidate’s identity.
- The candidate’s academic credentials.
- The candidate’s professional history.
- Criminal background checks from within Ohio or other states.
While a typical employment background check may cover those basic criteria, some may also include more detailed criteria that are relevant to the job. Those may include:
- Professional license checks (e.g. Engineering or Accountancy jobs).
- Sex offender registry checks (e.g. for jobs that involve working with children).
- Credit history checks (e.g. for jobs that involve handling cash or company finances).
- Motor vehicle license checks (e.g. for jobs operating company vehicles like forklifts).
Even though background checks in Ohio can go into great detail, they can also be as simple as one or two criteria. For example, it is possible to get only a criminal background check done and nothing else. All of it depends on what the situation calls for and what is allowed by the law.
As a simple rule of thumb, always remember this: the more in-depth a background check goes in Ohio, the more effort it will require, and the higher the cost will be.
How Far Back Do Background Checks Go In Ohio?
Ohio is one of the states that has a 10-year limitation on reporting criminal histories in background checks.
Some states follow the timeframes set by the FCRA. Typically, those time frames limit the reporting of criminal histories in background checks to 7 years. However, like Ohio, some states have their own regulations, which extend that timeframe to 10 years.
What that means is that in Ohio, any criminal convictions that happened in the ten years before can appear on a background check.
Some Background Check Criteria Go Further Back
However, there are some kinds of background check information that are not regulated by law.
For example, a person’s work and education history does not have a set timeframe. No matter how long ago those records were created, they can still appear on that person’s background check report.
For companies that wish to verify the person’s work and education history, there is no law that prohibits them from doing so, regardless of the timeframe.
Background Checks Must Always Be Compliant
As you can see, different types of information on an Ohio background check are governed in their own way. Some are controlled by law, such as criminal records and even credit histories. Others, like information about a person’s academic background, are not governed by law.
Therefore, a background check must always be in compliance with local, state, and federal laws. Failing to do so could result in hefty fines.
How Long Does A Background Check Take In Ohio?
The duration of a background check in Ohio isn’t fixed. For example, getting a criminal history check will only take a few hours if the person has no criminal history, and no information is produced from the check.
That’s because the state of Ohio utilizes a system called WebCheck to perform criminal records checks. As mentioned before, using this system is quick if the person has no criminal records. However, the check may take longer if the person has criminal records, as time is needed to collect that information.
Let’s suppose that you’re requesting a universal background check in Ohio. If that’s the case, that means the check will draw from all sorts of information taken from various sources. For these kinds of background checks, a much longer time may be needed to produce results.
Reasons A Background Check May Get Delayed
There are several reasons why a background check in Ohio might get delayed. Plenty of those reasons are, unfortunately, out of anyone’s control. Some common causes include:
Confusion Or Mixups: Sometimes, confusion can occur when collecting information for a background check. That might be the result of incorrect information provided, such as the person’s name or date of birth.
Additionally, there are also situations where two people with similar names may get their records mixed up. Clearing such confusion may take additional time.
Geographical Challenges: Even though the background check is on a person living in Ohio, some of the records may be from other states or even foreign countries. Gathering information for an in-depth background check of this nature could take more time than usual.
Delays At The Source: Typically, delays can also happen at the source of information. For example, a courthouse may take a long time to provide the requested court documents. Verifying a job candidate’s academic history may be delayed if their university or college is slow to respond to the background check.
How To Get A Faster Background Check In Ohio
To speed up the background check process in Ohio, there are several steps that can be taken. Firstly, it’s important to narrow down the background check criteria as much as possible. Remember: the more information is being requested, the longer it’ll take.
Additionally, there is also the option of hiring professional background check service providers to do the job. For the fees that they charge, they’ll have teams of dedicated and knowledgeable staff who can perform the background checks in a timely fashion.
How Long Does A Background Check Take For A Gun In Ohio?
A background check for a gun in Ohio goes through the FBI and can take as long as three business days.
The state of Ohio does not require a firearms dealer to perform a background check through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Therefore, according to federal law, dealers must perform a background check directly with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Having said that, federal law also states that the background check must come back within three business days. If the check takes longer than that, then firearms dealers are allowed to continue with the sale of the gun to the customer.
How To Get A Background Check In Ohio
Getting a background check in Ohio isn’t as difficult as it seems, and there are many ways to go about it. Generally speaking, though, you can either perform the background check by getting the information yourself or by hiring a third-party company to do it for you.
Doing the Background Check Yourself
Thanks to public records laws in the United States, it’s possible for citizens to request government records through the relevant offices. That means individuals can request criminal history checks, court records, or almost any other information on their own.
Criminal Records Checks: In many cases, performing a criminal records check requires submitting a request to law enforcement agencies. Aside from a small payment, you’ll also need the person’s name and other identifying details such as their date of birth or even their Social Security Number.
Court Records: Court records, on the other hand, are typically kept at the relevant courthouses. Requesting that information also follows a similar process of filling up a form, including payment, and submitting it to their offices.
Professional or Academic Records Checks: As part of the hiring process, recruiters may want to verify a candidate’s professional qualifications and academic records. Typically, these involve liaising directly with the awarding body (i.e. the university, college, or professional association).
For these types of information, a company’s Human Resources Department may put in a call to verify the candidate’s information.
Hiring A Third-party Company
Another common method of getting a background check in Ohio is to hire a third-party company. These companies go by many names, such as Credit Reporting Agencies, pre-employment screening companies, and even detective agencies.
Regardless of what they’re called, they perform the same function: they perform background checks by collecting the necessary information as determined by their clients.
Hiring a third-party to do a background check in Ohio might get a bit pricey, depending on how in-depth you’d like them to be. However, their services come with a lot of value.
By paying their fee, you’ll usually have a team of professionals who will source and compile the background check’s necessary information. Then, they’ll usually organize that information into an easy-to-read report which they handover to you.
Additionally, they may highlight some red flags or other elements according to your requests.
Which Background Check Method Is Best In Ohio?
Both options have their pros and cons, and they’re suited depending on your needs. If you’re only searching for a limited scope of information for the background check, it may be cheaper and quicker to do it directly.
However, if you’re seeking a very in-depth background check that includes a long list of information, you may be better off hiring professionals at a third-party company to do it for you.
That way, the background check gets done without any fuss.
How To Get A Criminal Background Check In Ohio
The state of Ohio is somewhat unique in how they handle civilian criminal background checks. Here, those kinds of background checks go through a system called ‘Webcheck’. The system works by collecting fingerprints at designated Webcheck locations. These locations are the only ones that will have the necessary equipment to use the Webcheck system.
Those fingerprints are then sent directly to the Bureau of Criminal Investigations, where they’ll be compared against their databases searching for criminal records.
Please note that the cost of submitting a request through Webcheck is not the same everywhere. It will depend on the particular Webcheck vendor that you approach. As a reference, you should know that some Webcheck vendors charge about $22 to submit a request.
What Do Job Background Checks Check For In Ohio?
Background checks in Ohio can check for all sorts of information, depending on the company that’s requesting the check and the job that the candidate is applying for. Some companies may only choose to do a simple, surface-level background check, while others may decide to go into much greater detail.
Typically, though, most job background checks include the following:
- Identity verification (to ensure the candidate is who they say they are).
- Academic qualification verification (for employers to see if candidates are telling the truth about their degrees, diplomas, and etcetera).
- Work history (to check that the candidate has the necessary experience for the job).
- Criminal history check (to ensure that the candidate doesn’t have a conviction that may disqualify them from the hiring process).
Depending on the nature of the job, the company may also perform more in-depth job background checks. These additional criteria will be based on the responsibilities of the role that the candidate is applying for.
Some common examples of this include:
- Motor vehicle license and traffic offenses checks (for jobs that involve driving on behalfs of the company, like deliveries and truck drivers).
- Professional license checks (for jobs that require professional licenses, such as in Engineering, the medical field, or some finance roles).
- Sex offender registry checks (for jobs that involve working with children or other vulnerable people).
Despite the level of detail that a job background check may go into, it’s important to remember that there are rules and regulations governing the kind of information a company can search for and how they go about using it in the hiring process.
Laws like the FCRA and other Fair Hiring Laws ensure that both the company’s rights and that of the candidate are protected at all times. Failure to follow those laws may result in hefty fines for the company.
Can I Get A Free Background Check In Ohio?
No, you can’t get a free background check in Ohio. There will be plenty of advertisements online that claim to provide you with a free background check, but that’s typically a marketing ploy.
Whether you’re submitting requests directly to relevant government offices or going through a third-party background check company, there is always a cost involved.
If you wish to minimize how much you spend on a background check in Ohio, here are a few tips:
- Only request the information that you find absolutely necessary. The more in-depth a background check, the more it’ll cost.
- Submit the requests yourself. Sure, you’ll have to do the legwork yourself, but you won’t be paying any fees to a third-party company to do it for you.
- Compare your options. Whether you’re searching for a Webcheck vendor or hiring a third-party, compare the different options and find one that suits your budget the best.