For employers in Connecticut, pre-employment background checks should be a crucial component of the hiring process. Making sure that you hire reliable, vetted, qualified, and safe employees depends on the accuracy and quality of the Connecticut background checks on which you rely.
Conducting a background check in Connecticut means that you must follow all local, state, and federal regulations and laws that govern pre-employment background checks when you use them to make hiring decisions.
As discussed below, complying with all of the relevant laws will for Connecticut background checks for employment requires you to have a thorough understanding and knowledge of the laws and regulations as well as the resources needed to gather the information from permitted sources.
At iprospectcheck, we provide pre-employment background checks to employers in Bridgeport, New Haven, Stamford, and more.
Because of our substantial experience with conducting employment background checks in Connecticut, we wrote this guide for employers to use as a resource about the basics of conducting accurate and legally-compliant Connecticut background checks.
Let’s dive in.
Connecticut Employment Background Check Laws: A Complete Overview
The sources of background check information and the types of information that can be gathered, reported, and used during the hiring process are limited by federal and state laws and regulations. If you do not comply with these laws, you could be sued by a job applicant and face other potential penalties.
Some of the key laws and regulations that employers in Connecticut should know when they work with a consumer reporting agency during the pre-employment screening process are described below.
Federal Laws on Employment Background Checks
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act are the key federal laws that cover pre-employment background checks in Connecticut and all other states.
Fair Credit Reporting Act
The FCRA was passed in 1970 to protect the privacy of consumers for the information gathered and held by consumer reporting agencies. This law restricts the types of information that can be gathered and reported for prospective employees and what can be used to make hiring decisions.
The FCRA’s restrictions are not applicable when the positions you offer have salaries of $75,000 or more.
The FCRA restricts CRAs from reporting certain types of negative information that is seven or more years old, including civil lawsuits, civil judgments, liens, bankruptcies, criminal arrests not leading to convictions, and collection accounts.
However, the FCRA does not restrict the reporting of criminal convictions, which can be gathered and reported regardless of how old they might be.
The FCRA does not restrict the reporting of certain other types of information on background checks, including employment history, educational records, credentials, and other similar types of data.
Employers are required to notify applicants that they intend to conduct background checks in advance and in writing. You must also get the applicant’s written consent to perform a background check before you do so either by yourself or through a third-party background check company like iprospectcheck.
If you receive adverse information on a background check, the FCRA requires you to go through a two-step adverse action process before you make your final hiring decision based on the information that has been revealed.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the most important civil rights law ever passed in the U.S. Title VII of this act prohibits discrimination in the workplace based on the protected characteristics of applicants and employees, including race, religion, color, gender, color, national origin, and others.
Since certain minority groups are likelier to have been arrested and/or incarcerated, Title VII prohibits employers from enacting blanket policies against hiring anyone with an arrest or criminal record since doing so might be discriminatory against protected groups.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the agency that enforces Title VII and creates regulations under it.
The EEOC has issued guidance for employers that they should conduct individualized assessments of any criminal history information revealed on employment screenings as the information relates to the specific positions for which the applicants are being considered before making a decision based on that information to not hire them.
Connecticut State Laws on Employment Background Checks
Connecticut has multiple laws that govern pre-employment background checks that are conducted by CRAs and how employers can use the information they might receive.
Under Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-142(e), consumer reporting agencies that receive criminal history information about applicants have a duty to check with the state’s department of justice to see if any of the records have been erased before disclosing them. They cannot report criminal record information for offenses that have been erased and must make certain that the information they have is current.
Under Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31-51i, CRAs that will issue reports containing criminal record information about an applicant must notify the applicant that it is issuing a report that includes criminal record information with the name and address of the employer that will receive it. They must also have procedures in place to ensure that the information is up-to-date and accurate.
Under Conn. Gen. Stat. § 42-471, CRAs have a duty to safeguard personal data, including Social Security numbers, documents, and computer files containing sensitive information. The data must be made unreadable before it is disposed.
Under Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-142a, people who have sought and received an order of erasure are allowed to state that they have not been convicted of any criminal offense. Employers are not allowed to inquire about any erased, expunged, or pardoned records, and CRAs are not allowed to disclose them.
Employers also have multiple laws they must follow. Under Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31-51i, employers are prohibited some asking about erased records. They also may not inquire about an applicant’s arrest or criminal history information at the application stage but may inquire during an interview.
Under Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-80, employers must presume that an applicant who presents a certificate of rehabilitation or a provisional pardon has been rehabilitated. If the employer decides against hiring the person, the employer must provide detailed reasons why in writing to the applicant.
Under Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31-35i, employers are prohibited from denying an applicant based solely on erased records or those for which the applicant has received a provisional pardon or certificate of rehabilitation.
Under 2018 Public Act No. 18-8, employers are prohibited from asking about salary history information from their applicants. However, employers may not prohibit employees from discussing their wages amongst themselves.
Under 2018 Public Act No. 11-233, most employers are prohibited from considering the credit scores or histories of applicants when making hiring decisions. However, an exception exists when the employer is a financial institution or when it substantially relates to the position.
Finally, under 2015 Public Act No. 15-6, employers are prohibited from asking applicants for their social media account information or passwords. They also may not ask an applicant or employee to sign in to their social media accounts in the presence of the employer or ask for the applicant or employee to add the employer as a social media friend.
What Shows Up on a Connecticut Background Check?
An employment background check in Connecticut can include as much information as necessary and legally allowed, depending on the ability and resources of the third-party CRA that collects the information on a prospective candidate.
At iprospectcheck, we offer many different types of employment background reports, allowing you to pick and choose the ones that are important for your company.
The most common types of reports requested by Connecticut employers include information about their applicants’ criminal history, past employment, educational qualifications, and professional credentials.
Below, you’ll find what you might expect to see in each of those types of reports on your employment background checks.
If an applicant’s pre-employment screening reveals criminal history information, you will be able to see the following types of information about the offense or offenses:
- Criminal case number(s)
- Offense date(s)
- Charge level (Felony or misdemeanor)
- Disposition date(s)
Records that have been expunged or pardoned may not be reported or considered under Connecticut law.
Some applicants embellish their past employment histories on job applications to make it look like they have held positions of greater authority than they have or to try to make it look like they have not had any gaps in employment.
Requesting an employment verification can help you to confirm the information reported by your job candidates. This type of report will tell you every employer for whom an applicant has worked, the dates of employment at each company, and the positions and job titles held.
Verifying the employment history of an applicant can help to prevent negligent hiring liability.
Education and Credentials
When you request an education verification report, you will be able to see each institution an applicant has attended, his or her attendance dates, and any degrees, diplomas, or certificates he or she earned.
Checking the professional credentials of an applicant can help you to make sure that your applicants have the licenses required to perform their jobs and that their licenses are current and valid.
Education verification can help to ensure that you hire qualified and trustworthy employees.
How Far Back Do Background Checks Go in Connecticut?
The seven-year lookback period under the FCRA restricts how far back certain background information can be reported for job applicants.
Third-party background check companies cannot report certain types of adverse information that is seven or more years old, including arrests that did not result in convictions, civil judgments, civil lawsuits, liens, collections, or bankruptcies.
If the position for which you are hiring pays $75,000 per year or more, the seven-year restriction does not apply.
Criminal conviction information can be reported regardless of age under the FCRA. However, expunged or pardoned records will not be reported.
The time restrictions for background information do not cover other types of relevant background information, including employment history, education, credentials, and others. You can use this type of information regardless of its age.
How to Get a Background Check in Connecticut
In Connecticut, employers may ask for criminal history information by submitting requests to the State Bureau of Police Identification with the Connecticut State Police.
Employers that are hiring applicants to work with people who have developmental disabilities will need to go through the Department of Developmental Disabilities.
To get criminal history information from the State Police Bureau of Identification, employers will need to either have their applicants submit fingerprints by appointment only or mail requests.
Employers hiring applicants to work with individuals who have developmental disabilities can go through the DDS CTSAFEHIRE system.
These criminal history checks will not reveal all of the information you might need for your applicants. It will return criminal history information from within Connecticut but might not include information about offenses from other jurisdictions.
These searches also will not provide information about an applicant’s employment history, education, credentials, and other important types of information.
Some employers try to conduct do-it-yourself background checks on applicants by searching the internet or trying to compile data by contacting multiple state agencies, previous employers, and education institutions.
This approach can be time-consuming, and you might not receive all of the information that you need.
The best way to complete Connecticut employment background checks is to work with a reputable third-party employment background screening company like iprospectcheck.
We return comprehensive reports quickly, and our reports fully comply with the FCRA and other relevant laws.
How Much Does a Background Check Cost in Connecticut?
If you go through the State Police Bureau of Identification, a fingerprint-based check will cost $15 for the fingerprint fee plus $75 for the criminal records check.
If you order a criminal history check through the DDS CTSAFEHIRE system, the applicant will need to get fingerprinted at a cost of $15. However, you will not have to pay the $75 fee.
Keep in mind, these types of checks will not reveal other important information you need to make good hiring decisions, including employment, education, and credentials information.
Some employers search online and find providers promising a free CT background check. These types of providers should be avoided. Most do not comply with the FCRA and return outdated and incorrect information, potentially exposing you to lawsuits if you rely on the information they provide.
The best approach for Connecticut employers is to partner with a reputable, qualified, and FCRA-compliant employment background check provider like iprospectcheck. Our reports are comprehensive, and we return accurate and FCRA-compliant results quickly. We also offer clinical services, including pre-employment drug testing.
How Long Does a Background Check Take in Connecticut?
How you choose to conduct pre-employment background checks on your job applicants will determine how long you might expect them to take. If you go through the state, the results can take up to two weeks.
People who try to compile pre-employment background check information on their own can expect the process to take several weeks.
If you work with iprospectcheck, you will receive your employment background check reports in the shortest amount of time possible.
Our extensive resources and training allow us to return comprehensive, accurate, and FCRA-compliant background check reports in as little as a few hours.
iprospectcheck: Your Trusted Partner for Fast, Accurate, Compliant Connecticut Background Checks
To conduct accurate, comprehensive, and FCRA-compliant Connecticut background checks, you will need to have extensive access to multiple reliable databases to gather accurate information about the criminal history, educational qualifications, credentials, employment history, and more about your applicants.
If you partner with iprospectcheck to complete your pre-employment screenings, you can benefit from our extensive resources and access to current and reliable information databases. We have the capabilities to gather all of the information required quickly.
All of our staff members undergo extensive training and know how to gather and analyze critical background information. Our reports are fully FCRA-compliant, accurate, current, and comprehensive.
Our goal is to make the pre-employment screening process as smooth as possible for our clients and their candidates. We are based in the U.S. and do not offshore our services, helping us to protect the confidentiality and privacy of the sensitive information we handle.
For more information about how we might help you, contact iprospectcheck to schedule 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.