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A Complete Guide to Delaware Background Checks [2023]


As an employer, you should conduct a Delaware pre-employment background check on any prospective employee you consider. Background screenings reveal critical information about applicants and help employers confirm the information reported on resumes and applications.

While you might think that people are generally honest, did you know that 78% of job applicants lie on their resumes or applications?

Whether or not your company is within a regulated industry that requires background checks, the information you can obtain on a background check in Delaware is indispensable.

A Delaware pre-employment background check provides a comprehensive picture of a candidate and allows you to verify a prospective candidate’s criminal history, identity, education, work history, and credentials.

Completing a pre-employment background check allows you to be confident in your hiring decisions and reduce the risk of liability from hiring someone who has disqualifying information in his or her background.

At iprospectcheck, we routinely conduct background checks for employers in Wilmington, Dover, Newark, and more, and we know the laws, rules, and regulations that apply in the state.

This guide will help you learn how to properly conduct Delaware employment background checks.

Let’s get started.

Delaware Background Check Laws 2023

Delaware employers must comply with local, state, and federal laws and regulations when they conduct employment background checks and use the information to make hiring decisions. Individual states have state-specific regulations and laws, so Delaware companies need to know the regulations in their states as well as the federal laws.

Federal Laws on Employment Background Checks

Two federal laws cover how pre-employment background checks can be conducted, the information that can be reported, and how employers can use the information they receive to make hiring decisions.

These laws include the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.


Passed in 1970, the FCRA protects consumers’ privacy rights in the sensitive information collected, held, and reported by consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) and used by Delaware employers for hiring decisions.

Under the FCRA, CRAs are restricted in the types of information they can collect and report on pre-employment background checks. The FCRA also restricts employers in how background check information can be used to make hiring decisions.

The FCRA includes a seven-year lookback period for reporting certain types of adverse information. CRAs may not report negative information that is seven or more years old about civil judgments, civil lawsuits, collection accounts, liens, bankruptcies, or arrests not resulting in convictions.

However, an exception to the FCRA’s time restriction exists when employers offer positions that pay at least $75,000 per year. Criminal convictions also do not fall under the seven-year lookback period, and CRAs can report them regardless of age.

Delaware employers that intend to conduct pre-employment background checks must inform their candidates in advance in writing. Before an employment background check in Delaware can be conducted by a CRA, an employer is also required to get the applicant’s signed consent.

If employers receive negative background information from Delaware employment background checks conducted by CRAs, they must comply with the adverse action process outlined under the FCRA before making final decisions.

If you do not comply with the FCRA, you can face substantial penalties and fines and could face a lawsuit.

The adverse action process involves the following steps:

1. Send pre-adverse action notice.
If a background check reveals disqualifying information, you must send a pre-adverse action notice to the applicant before making a final decision. You must give the applicant a reasonable amount of time to review the information and challenge it. Generally, five days is considered acceptable.

2. Review results.
If the applicant responds to the pre-adverse action notice and modifies or updates the information on the background check report, you must review the information. If you still do not intend to hire the applicant based on the information contained in the background check report, you will need to send a final adverse action notice.

3. Send final adverse action notice.
The final adverse action notice should include a statement of the applicant’s rights under the FCRA, the name and contact information of the CRA that provided the information, and a statement that the CRA did not make the final hiring decision. The applicant should be told that he or she has a right to obtain a free copy of the background check report within 60 days.

Title VII

Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits employment discrimination in all aspects of employment, including hiring, firing, promotions, salary, and more. Under this law, employers are prohibited from discriminating against applicants and employees based on protected characteristics, including color, race, religion, national origin, age, sex, disability, and others.

Title VII is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Title VII applies to how criminal history information obtained on background checks in Delaware can be used in the hiring process.

The EEOC issued guidance for employers that conduct background checks. According to the EEOC, employers must assess criminal history information individually as it applies to the specific job for which they are hiring before making adverse hiring decisions.

Delaware State Laws on Employment Background Checks

Delaware employers must also comply with several state laws in addition to the FCRA and Title VII.

Salary History Information Requests Prohibited

Under 19 Del. Code §709B, employers are prohibited from asking applicants about their salary histories and cannot ask former employers to reveal that information. If an employer violates this law, it can face a penalty ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 for a first offense or from $5,000 to $10,000 for a subsequent violation.

Ban-the-Box Law for Public Employers

In 2014, former Governor Jack Markell signed 2014 HB 167 into law. Under this law, public employers are prohibited from asking about applicants’ criminal histories on their applications and may not inquire about them until after they have had an opportunity to interview.

However, this law does not apply to the Department of Corrections or state, local, or municipal police agencies.

Use of Convictions by Public Employers

2014 HB 167 also places time restrictions on the use of convictions by public employers. Covered public employers may not use criminal convictions in making hiring decisions for otherwise qualified applicants for felonies that are older than 10 years or misdemeanors that are older than five years.

Polygraph Examinations Prohibited

Under 19 Del. Code § 704, employers may not ask applicants or employees to submit to a polygraph examination as a condition of employment.

However, police agencies are excepted from this law.

Social Media Information Requests Prohibited

Under 19 Del. Code § 709A, employers are prohibited from asking for an applicant’s or employee’s social media password or account information. They also cannot require applicants or employees to log into social media accounts in their presence or alter their privacy settings to allow the employer to view the applicant’s or employee’s personal social media pages.

Expunged Records Not Subject to Disclosure

Under 11 Del. Code § 4372, applicants do not have to disclose convictions or arrests that have been expunged from their criminal records. Employers may not request information about expunged records, and CRAs will not report information about them.

What Shows Up on a Delaware Background Check?

Most Delaware employers ask for the following types of information on pre-employment background checks:

  • Criminal history information
  • Identity verification
  • Sex offender registry checks
  • Domestic terrorist watchlist
  • Employment verification
  • Education verification and credentials

Some employers also request driving records for positions that require driving. Some employers also ask applicants to submit to pre-employment drug tests as a part of the employment screening process.

Criminal History

If an applicant has a criminal record, both misdemeanor and felony convictions will be reported subject to the limitations placed on public employers.

However, private employers do not have time restrictions on conviction information other than for expunged records.

If an applicant has a non-expunged criminal record, you will see the following information:

  • Date of offense
  • Type of offense
  • Offense level (misdemeanor or felony)
  • Disposition date
  • Disposition
  • Sentence

Identity Verification

A CRA like iprospectcheck can search comprehensive government databases to determine whether a Social Security number is valid, if it has been used by someone in the past, and who it belongs to. Identity verification can also be used to verify addresses.

Sex Offender Registry

A sex offender registry check will reveal whether an applicant is a registered sex offender. It will also show the type and date of the offense and provide conviction information as previously described.

Domestic Terrorist Watch List

If an applicant is listed on the Domestic Terrorist Watch List, that information will be reported on a pre-employment background check. This information can help you to ensure the safety of your workplace.

Employment Verification

Requesting employment verification will allow you to verify whether your candidates have honestly reported their past employment histories and former positions. You can see an applicant’s former employers, dates of employment, and job titles.

Employment verification reports can help you to determine whether your candidates are trustworthy and qualified and reduce your risk of liability.

Education Verification

Education verification lets employers confirm the educational histories reported by their applicants. You will see each educational institution your applicants have attended, their attendance dates, and any diplomas, certificates, or degrees they have earned.

Verifying the education of an applicant helps you to find qualified, honest employees who will be able to perform the tasks of their jobs.

How Far Back Do Background Checks Go in Delaware?

For private employers, the FCRA’s seven-year lookback period will control how far back certain types of information can be reported on background checks.

The following types of information will not be reported when it is seven or more years old:

  • Arrests that did not result in convictions
  • Civil judgments
  • Civil lawsuits
  • Paid tax liens
  • Bankruptcies
  • Collection accounts

If your position pays more than $75,000 per year, the lookback period restrictions will not apply. The FCRA does not restrict the reporting of conviction records no matter how old they might be. However, expunged conviction records cannot be reported or used in Delaware.

Information about your applicant’s education, employment history, and credentials is not subject to the seven-year lookback period and can be reported regardless of age.

How Do I Get a Background Check in Delaware?

If you want to do a background check on a potential employee, you can request a certified criminal history report from the Delaware State Police. To get your criminal record, the applicant will need to undergo Delaware State Police fingerprinting.

This fingerprint-based search will reveal the applicant’s Delaware criminal history information but will not include criminal records from other states or the federal government. Conducting a search through the Delaware State Police will also not reveal other crucial information about an applicant’s past employment or education.

Some employers attempt to conduct do-it-yourself pre-employment background checks by searching for information online or submitting requests to multiple agencies, past employers, and educational institutions. This might not provide you with a complete picture of an applicant and can also take a long time to complete.

When conducting employment background checks in Delaware, your best option is to partner with a reputable, FCRA-compliant third-party provider like iprospectcheck.

Our employment background check reports are current, accurate, comprehensive, and FCRA-compliant.

What Will Disqualify You from a Delaware Background Check?

Several red flags on employment screenings might make employers decide against hiring applicants. It is best for applicants to always be honest when they apply for jobs.

Here are some of the things that might disqualify an applicant on a background check.

Criminal History

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, an estimated 77 million Americans have criminal records.

While a criminal record might be an obstacle for employment, employers should assess the records individually as they apply to the specific positions for which they are hiring.

Problematic Credit History

Some private employers request credit history information for their applicants. Having a poor credit history might be a barrier to employment in certain types of jobs such as in the financial sector.

However, Delaware’s ban-the-box law prohibits public employers from requesting credit history information from applicants until they have been interviewed and have received conditional offers of employment.

False Employment History

Some applicants falsely report past employment information to try to appear as if they have more experience than they do or to hide gaps in employment. Applicants who lie about their past employment histories are unlikely to be hired.

False Education Claims

Similarly, some applicants lie about where they have attended college and whether they have earned specific degrees or certifications. Lying about these types of things will likely result in a negative employment decision.

Poor Driving Record

Applicants who apply for jobs that require them to drive, e.g. truck drivers, might be turned down for jobs when they have problematic driving records. This is because the companies might not be able to insure them and might face increased risks if they hire them.

Failed Drug Test

Employers that request pre-employment drug tests for candidates as a condition of employment will likely not agree to hire applicants who fail pre-employment drug screens.

How Much Does a Background Check Cost in Delaware?

If you request a fingerprint-based check through the Delaware State Police, you will have to pay a fee of $52 per report.

However, the information will be limited to Delaware state criminal history information and will not include other important information about your applicants.

Some online vendors advertise free Delaware background checks. However, you should avoid using these providers for employment purposes as they often report inaccurate and outdated information.

The information they report also might not comply with the requirements of the FCRA and state laws, exposing you to liability if you rely on these types of providers.

The best approach is to partner with a reputable, reliable, FCRA-compliant pre-employment background check provider like iprospectcheck.

We complete tailored employment background checks for employers in Delaware, so you can choose only the types of information you need.

We offer several packages at different prices and a broad menu of other services and reports, including pre-employment drug screening.

The steep volume discounts for employers ordering 50 or more background check reports per year benefit many companies. To obtain a free, no-obligation quote, call iprospectcheck today.

How Long Does a Background Check Take in Delaware?

Most employers need to make fast hiring decisions and do not have a lot of time to wait for employment background check information.

If you attempt to conduct background checks by submitting individual requests to multiple state agencies, past employers, and educational institutions, the process could take weeks before you receive all of the required information.

When you work with iprospectcheck, you can save time. We return background check information quickly, providing reports to our clients in as little as a few hours.

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

Conducting comprehensive, up-to-date, and accurate pre-employment background checks in Delaware is critical for employers. To complete an FCRA-compliant background check, you will need access to multiple databases to obtain relevant information about your applicants’ backgrounds.

By working with iprospectcheck, you can take advantage of our extensive access to reliable databases and highly skilled employees. We know how to quickly gather and assess critical background data for applicants in Delaware.

We always are available to answer questions as they arise and are based in the U.S. We also understand the importance of confidentiality and privacy and do everything we can to protect our clients’ sensitive data.

To learn more and to receive a no-obligation, free consultation, contact iprospectcheck today.

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.