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South Carolina Background Check: A Complete Guide [2023]


South Carolina employers want to hire the most qualified, safe, and reliable employees to protect their bottom lines and the safety of their workplaces.

Conducting background checks in South Carolina as a routine part of your hiring process can go a long way to helping your company achieve its hiring goals. However, when you complete South Carolina background checks, you must follow all of the regulations and laws that govern the process so that you can reduce your risks of lawsuits.

To comply with the laws when conducting SC employment background checks, you will need to have extensive knowledge of the laws that apply to pre-employment screenings and access to the necessary resources to gather detailed background information from reliable sources.

At iprospectcheck, we regularly conduct FCRA-compliant, up-to-date, and accurate employment background checks in South Carolina for employers located across the state, including in Charleston, Columbia, Greenville, and more.

Our significant pre-employment background screening experience has led us to create this guide for employers to use as a resource when they conduct South Carolina background checks.

Let’s dive in.

South Carolina Employment Background Check Laws

Employers in South Carolina should understand how the state, federal, and local laws affect the information consumer reporting agencies can access and report and how the employers are allowed to use it. Failing to comply with the laws could result in penalties, fines, and lawsuits.

Some of the most important laws that South Carolina employers should know when they work with third-party consumer reporting agencies for pre-employment background checks are detailed below.

Federal Laws on Employment Background Checks

Two seminal laws at the federal level, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, cover how pre-employment background checks can be conducted in every state, including South Carolina.


Congress passed the FCRA in 1970 to protect the privacy of consumer information collected and reported by CRAs. This law places restrictions on both the types of information that CRAs can gather and report and on how employers can use the information they receive to make hiring decisions.

Consumer reporting agencies are restricted from reporting information about arrests that did not result in convictions when they are seven or more years old. The FCRA’s restrictions also apply to other types of information when it is older than seven years, including civil lawsuits, civil judgments, collection accounts, property liens, and bankruptcies.

The FCRA includes a salary-cap exception for its restrictions on pre-employment background checks. The limitations do not apply for positions paying $75,000 or more. The FCRA’s restrictions also do not apply to criminal convictions, which can be reported regardless of age.

Other important information about the backgrounds of applicants is not covered by the FCRA, including the applicants’ education and employment histories.

South Carolina employers that plan to conduct pre-employment background checks are required by the FCRA to provide the applicants with notice in writing. They must also secure the written consent of their applicants before conducting pre-employment screenings.

If an employer receives negative information about an applicant on a pre-employment background check report, the employer must comply with the adverse action process under the FCRA before deciding against hiring the applicant based on the information disclosed.

Title VII

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the most important anti-discrimination law protecting the rights of employees against unlawful discrimination based on their protected characteristics. This law prohibits illegal discrimination in the workplace against applicants and employees and is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The provisions of Title VII apply to pre-employment background screens when criminal history information is reported to employers. The EEOC has issued guidance to employers, advising them to assess any conviction record individually and concerning the specific jobs for which they are hiring before making an adverse job decision.

South Carolina State Laws on Employment Background Checks

In addition to the requirements of the FCRA, CRAs that receive consumer disputes about the information contained on an employment background check report must take an additional step if they verify the information is accurate.

Under S.C. Code Ann. § 37-20-170, the CRA must send a special notice to the applicant providing the basis for the denial and sufficient evidence to show that the information is accurate and true.

Under S.C. Code Ann. § 17-22-960, employers may not use expunged records for employment decisions for applicants or employees. Employers are also granted immunity from negligent hiring lawsuits based on hiring applicants with expunged records.

Child welfare agencies must comply with the provisions of SC Code Ann. § 63-11-70 for pardons. Under this statute, child welfare agencies may not consider pardons, but they can consider the facts surrounding the pardoned offense when making employment decisions. This means that they will have to complete an investigation.

What Does a Background Check in South Carolina Consist of?

South Carolina employers that request pre-employment background checks from iprospectcheck will see different types of information on their reports, depending on what they request. Employers can tailor their requests to meet their individual hiring needs.

Most employers in South Carolina request information about their applicants’ criminal histories, past employment, and education. Below, we have detailed the types of information you might expect to see in each of these pre-employment background reports.

Criminal History

When a pre-employment background check reveals criminal history information, the following types of information will appear on your report:

  • Case number
  • Arrest date
  • Charge(s)
  • Charge severity (felony or misdemeanor)
  • Disposition
  • Disposition date
  • Sentence


If you request an employment verification on a background check report, you can confirm each employer for whom the applicant has worked. You will also be able to verify the applicant’s dates of employment and the positions that he or she has held.

Verifying the employment record reported on an application allows you to check whether the applicant has been honest on his or her application and has the experience you need for your open position. This type of report can help you to reduce the risk of a negligent hiring lawsuit.


An education verification section on a pre-employment background check allows you to see each educational institution an applicant attended, his or her dates of attendance, and whether and degrees, certificates, or diplomas were conferred. Verifying your candidates’ educational backgrounds helps to ensure that they are qualified for their positions.

How Far Back Does a Background Check Go in South Carolina?

The length of time a pre-employment background check in South Carolina can go back is partially controlled by the FCRA’s seven-year lookback restrictions. Information seven or more years old about arrests that did not result in convictions, civil judgments, liens, civil lawsuits, bankruptcies, and collection accounts will not be reported.

If the positions you are offering pay salaries of $75,000 or more, the seven-year lookback period will not apply.

Criminal convictions can be reported no matter how old they might be. The time restrictions also do not apply to other relevant information, including past employment, education, and credentials.

How to Get a Background Check in South Carolina

Employers in South Carolina can send a request to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division to get criminal history information about applicants. However, this information will not include conviction and arrest information in jurisdictions other than South Carolina. It also will not include information about whether an applicant is on the sex offender registry. A separate search of the sex offender registry will be necessary.

Requesting information from the state also will not reveal other important information about applicants, including their employment histories, educational backgrounds, credentials, and others.

Some employers try to search for applicants online or use unreliable providers that promise free background checks. However, doing so can expose you to liability since the information they report is often incorrect, outdated, and not legally compliant.

The best way to conduct a pre-employment background check in South Carolina is to work with an experienced, FCRA-compliant, and reputable third-party CRA like iprospectcheck.

We return accurate, comprehensive, and reliable employment background check reports that fully comply with the law. We also offer a broad menu of other pre-employment clinical services, including pre-employment drug testing.

How Much Does a Background Check Cost in South Carolina?

If you request a background check through the SLED system with the SC Law Enforcement Division, you will have to submit a fee of $25 per report. However, the information will not include any details about convictions in other states or the applicant’s education and employment history.

Online sites that advertise free South Carolina employment background checks should be avoided. If you rely on information obtained in this way to make employment decisions, the information might not be accurate or legally compliant. This could expose you to liability through a lawsuit.

The best choice is to work with an employment background check provider like iprospectcheck. We fully comply with the FCRA and are affordable. You can customize the information you will receive on your reports so that you only receive relevant background data.

At iprospectcheck, you can choose from several different packages at different price levels. If you plan to order 50 or more pre-employment background check reports per year, we offer steep volume discounts. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation quote.

How Long Does a South Carolina Background Check Take?

How long it might take for you to receive a background check report on an applicant will depend on how you try to gather the information.

If you submit a request online to the state’s Law Enforcement Division, the results will appear quickly. However, these results will be limited to conviction information within South Carolina only and will not include information from other states, federal courts, or employment and educational background data.

If you attempt to gather the background information yourself by sending requests to multiple state agencies, federal agencies, registries, educational institutions, and former employers, it can take weeks to compile a comprehensive picture of the background of an applicant.

Saving time while receiving comprehensive and accurate information is another good reason to work with iprospectcheck. We offer fast turnaround times and can return the information you need in as little as a few hours.

iprospectcheck: Your Trusted Partner for Fast, Accurate, Compliant South Carolina Background Checks

Completing comprehensive, accurate, and FCRA-compliant pre-employment background checks in South Carolina is a crucial part of the hiring process. However, conducting South Carolina employment background checks correctly will require you to have extensive access to multiple databases covering criminal history information, driving records, employment records, educational qualifications, and more.

By partnering with iprospectcheck, you will have the advantage of our extensive resources and broad access to current and reliable databases. We can gather the relevant information you need so that you can make good hiring decisions quickly.

We fully train our experienced staff members in the latest employment background check methods. Our staff members understand how to gather and evaluate important information and always comply with the FCRA.

We also strongly believe in the importance of customer service. We strive to make the pre-employment background check process as smooth as possible for applicants and our clients. Our services are based in the US, which helps us to protect the confidentiality and privacy of your sensitive information.

To learn more about the services we provide and the various types of employment background checks and clinical services we offer, contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.

DISCLAIMER: The resources provided here are for educational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Consult your counsel if you have legal questions related to your specific practices and compliance with applicable laws.

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About the Author
Matthew J. Rodgers

Matthew J. Rodgers

Matthew J. Rodgers is a highly accomplished business executive with over 30 years of experience providing strategic vision and leadership to companies ranging from the fortune 500 to iprospectcheck, a company which he co-founded over a decade ago. Matthew is a valued consultant who is dedicated to helping companies create and implement efficient, cost effective and compliant employment screening programs. Matt has been a member of the Professional Background Screeners Association since 2009 . When not focused on iprospectcheck, he can be found spending time with his family, fly fishing, or occasionally running the wild rivers of the American west. A lifetime member of American Whitewater, Matt is passionate about protecting and restoring America’s whitewater rivers.