Human resources professionals and business owners in Georgia understand the importance of finding the most qualified, safe, and trustworthy employees to help their companies thrive.
Regardless of your industry, completing Georgia background checks for employment for each prospective employee is critical to your business’s success.
Conducting background checks in Georgia also requires you to comply with federal, state, and local laws governing how the information is collected and used for employment purposes.
To comply with all of the relevant background check laws, you must understand the rules that apply and remain current with any changes as they occur. You will also need to have comprehensive access to resources to gather the types of information you will need.
At iprospectcheck, we remain current with all of the changes in the laws as they occur and are fully FCRA-compliant. We regularly conduct thousands of Georgia background checks for employment for employers located throughout the state, including in Atlanta, Savannah, Augusta, Columbus, and more.
We have written this guide as a resource for you to understand the importance of conducting FCRA-compliant, accurate, and comprehensive Georgia employment background checks to help your company’s hiring and onboarding process.
Let’s dive in.
Georgia Employment Background Check Laws 2021: A Complete Overview
Both consumer reporting agencies that gather and report employment background check information and the employers that request and use the information must follow the federal, state, and local laws and regulations governing pre-employment background checks in Georgia.
If you do not comply with the employment background check laws in Georgia, you could face lawsuits and stiff penalties.
Below, we have detailed some of the most critical laws for employers in Georgia that you should observe during your hiring process.
Federal Laws on Employment Background Checks
Employers and CRAs in Georgia must comply with federal laws that govern pre-employment background checks. The most important federal laws on background checks in Georgia are the Fair Credit Reporting Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
Enacted in 1970, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission. This law includes a comprehensive set of regulations and rules governing information collected and used on employment background checks. The FCRA places restrictions on how CRAs can gather and report information and how employers can use the information they receive when they make hiring decisions.
CRAs are prohibited from reporting arrest information for arrests that did not result in convictions from more than seven years ago. The FCRA also restricts the reporting of information about liens, civil lawsuits, collections, and bankruptcies that are seven or more years old.
These time restrictions do not apply when the positions pay at least $75,000. Criminal conviction information is also not restricted and may be reported regardless of age.
Employers that plan to conduct pre-employment background checks in Georgia are required to provide their applicants with advance notice and obtain written consent before any background checks can be conducted.
If you receive adverse information on a pre-employment background check in Georgia, you must also comply with the FCRA’s adverse action process before making your final decision.
The most important federal anti-discrimination law for employment is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces the provisions of this law and creates regulations under it.
The EEOC has issued guidance to employers that receive criminal history information on employment background check reports. You should complete an individualized assessment of the information as it relates to the position before you make an adverse decision.
Georgia State Laws on Employment Background Checks
Several state laws in Georgia govern pre-employment background checks. Under OCGA § 35-3-34(3)(b), employers that obtain criminal history records and decide not to hire them must inform the applicants about the origin of the information, its contents, and how it affected the decision not to hire them.
Georgia also has a ban-the-box law that applies to employers in the public sector. They are not allowed to ask questions about criminal convictions early in the hiring process on applications.
Under OCGA § 42-8-60, employers other than schools, banks, daycare centers, nursing homes, and organizations serving the developmentally disabled are not allowed to use first offender information for employment purposes.
What Shows Up on a Background Check in Georgia?
What you might see on a Georgia background check for employment will depend on the types of reports you request. At iprospectcheck, we offer a full menu of pre-employment background check reports, allowing our clients to tailor the reports they receive to meet their individual hiring needs.
Among other types of information that might be requested, the majority of employers in Georgia ask for information about their applicants’ criminal, employment, and educational histories.
Here’s what you might expect to see on each of those reports.
If one of your job candidates has a criminal record, your criminal history background check report for employment will include the following types of information:
- Case number
- Date of arrest
- Disposition date
- Charge severity (misdemeanor or felony)
- Sentence information
Verifying the employment history information reported by your applicants can help you to ensure your employees are trustworthy and have the experience needed for their positions. On an employment verification report in Georgia, you may see the following information:
- Each employer for whom the applicant has worked
- Dates of employment with each employer
- Positions and titles held
This type of information can help you to mitigate the risks of hiring untrustworthy, unqualified employees and potential negligent hiring liability.
Education verification allows you to confirm that your applicants have the certificates or degrees required for their positions.
On an education verification report in Georgia, you may see the following types of information:
- Each school attended
- Dates of attendance
- Any diplomas, certificates, or degrees earned
Verifying the educational histories of your applicants can help you to check whether a candidate has falsified his or her credentials and enable you to hire only those employees who are truly qualified for their jobs.
How Far Back Does a Background Check go in Georgia?
Background checks in Georgia for employment must comply with the FCRA’s seven-year lookback period. This means that your pre-employment background check reports will not include arrest information for arrests that did not result in conviction from seven or more years ago.
Other types of adverse information, including liens, civil judgments, collections, and bankruptcies from more than seven years ago will also not be reported.
The FCRA’s time restrictions do not apply if you are hiring for positions that pay at least $75,000. If an applicant has a misdemeanor or felony conviction, that information can be reported regardless of age.
The time restrictions of the FCRA also do not apply to other important types of information contained on background check reports about employment, credentials, and education. This information can be reported and used no matter how old it might be.
How to Get a Background Check in Georgia
In Georgia, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is responsible for maintaining a central repository of arrest and conviction information for offenses within the state. Employers can submit requests for criminal history information for employment purposes.
This report will include Georgia-specific conviction information but will not include information about convictions from other states or information about juvenile adjudications, restricted records, or sealed records.
A report from the GBI will also not include other relevant information about an applicant’s driving record, employment history, credentials, or educational records.
Trying to conduct searches online can be time-consuming and may return results that are inaccurate, outdated, and not FCRA-compliant. Relying on information obtained in this way could expose you to lawsuits from candidates.
The best method of securing comprehensive pre-employment background checks in Georgia is to partner with a reputable, FCRA-compliant background check provider like iprospectcheck.
When you work with us, you can be confident that the information you receive about your applicants will be comprehensive, accurate, and FCRA-compliant.
How Much Does a Background Check Cost in Georgia?
If you request a fingerprint-based criminal history report from the GBI, you will have to pay a fee of $27.75 per report plus fingerprint costs. However, this report will not include comprehensive information about other relevant data, including out-of-state convictions and arrests, employment information, education information, and others.
Some companies try to complete background checks on their own by contacting individual agencies, schools, and past employers. They might also try to search public records online. Taking this approach can be very time-consuming and expensive.
The best approach to conducting pre-employment background checks in Georgia is to partner with a reputable, fast, and affordable employment background check provider like iprospectcheck.
We offer customized employment background check reports and clinical services, including employment drug testing services.
Our prices are affordable, and there are steep discounts for companies that order more than 50 employment background check reports per year. Contact us today to request a free quote.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Background Check Completed in Georgia?
The length of time required for pre-employment background checks in Georgia will depend on the screening method you choose.
If you try to gather the information by submitting information requests to multiple agencies, educational institutions, and employers, completing a background check for a candidate could take weeks. Most companies cannot afford to spend this much time completing employment background checks, and a long process can also turn many applicants away.
Georgia employers can offer a smooth and fast hiring process by working with iprospectcheck. When you partner with us, we can offer comprehensive employment background check reports in as little as a few hours up to two days. Our information is comprehensive, up-to-date, and FCRA-compliant.
iprospectcheck: Your Trusted Partner for Fast, Accurate, Compliant Georgia Background Checks
Conducting accurate, legally compliant, and comprehensive background checks for employment in Georgia requires extensive access to relevant information and sound knowledge of the applicable laws.
At iprospectcheck, we have access to numerous databases with up-to-date and accurate information together with extensive resources to provide accurate information as quickly as possible. Our staff members are fully trained and know how to collect important screening information for applicants. When you partner with us, you can be confident the reports you receive are accurate, comprehensive, current, and FCRA-compliant.
We are USA-based and keep all of our services onshore. This helps us to maintain the security and privacy of your sensitive information at all times. We are dedicated to providing great customer service and are always available to answer any questions that might arise during the hiring process.
Contact iprospectcheck today to schedule a no-obligation, free consultation so that you can learn more about how we can help you: 888-808-9997
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.