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Minnesota Background Checks for Employment: A Complete Guide [2023]


Employment background checks are an indispensable part of the hiring process for your Minnesota company. Your ability as an employer to ensure that your company is hiring qualified, reliable, verified, and safe employees is tied to the quality and accuracy of the Minnesota background checks that you rely upon.

At the same time, you must comply with all applicable laws and regulations in conducting and using Minnesota employment background checks when hiring prospective employees.

As explained further below, legal compliance in MN employment background checks requires in-depth knowledge of employee screening laws and the resources to collect detailed information from permissible sources.

At iprospectcheck, we have successfully conducted thousands of employment background checks for companies with locations in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester, Bloomington, Duluth, and many other cities across Minnesota.

Based on our extensive experience in conducting employment background checks, we have assembled this guide as a resource on the fundamentals of legally compliant and accurate Minnesota background checks.

Let’s start now.

Minnesota Employment Background Check Laws

Federal, state, and local laws on background checks affect what sources of information can be accessed and used in screening prospective employees in Minnesota. Failure to adhere to these restrictions can result in a lawsuit against you by a job candidate as well as other penalties.

Below are some of the most significant laws and regulations that Minnesota employers should be aware of when using a consumer reporting agency to complete the background check process.

Federal Laws on Employment Background Checks

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) restricts the information on job applicants, who are referred to as consumers under the act, that you may seek and use in hiring decisions.

The restrictions do not apply for positions with an expected salary of at least $75,000.

In general, any negative information on a candidate, such as civil suits, bankruptcies, judgment liens, criminal arrest records, and financial accounts in collection status, may not be reported past seven years ago. However, records of criminal convictions may be collected on a candidate without a time restriction.

The FCRA also imposes requirements on employers to notify a prospective candidate that they will be subject to a background check in advance. You should secure consent from an applicant before conducting a background screening yourself or through a third-party screening company.

Minnesota State Laws on Employment Background Checks

Minnesota has established ban the box restrictions on employment background checks, which prohibit you from using an applicant’s criminal record as a way to initially disqualify them. Private employers in the state have been subjected to these restrictions since 2014.

Minnesota criminal background checks may not be conducted on a job candidate until at least after the candidate has been interviewed and deemed qualified for the position.

However, some Minnesota employers are required to conduct employment background checks, including if your company hires employees who interact directly with minor children.

Additional Local Laws on Minnesota Employment Background Checks

In addition to the ban the box and any other applicable restrictions on Minnesota criminal background checks, you must be sure to adhere to any local laws on background screening.

Depending on the jurisdiction in which you are located, these local laws can be more restrictive than the general Minnesota ban the box provisions.

For example, the City of St. Paul and Minneapolis require that public sector employers follow additional notification procedures for an applicant who was denied employment or a professional license based on their criminal record, including informing them of the grievance and reapplication procedure.

What Appears on an MN Background Check?

Minnesota background checks can be as comprehensive as the resources and ability of the screening provider allow in collecting relevant information on a job applicant. The most common information requested in an employment background check includes criminal history, past employment verification, education verification, professional credentials, social media activity, and credit checks.

Criminal History

For any criminal offense in a candidate’s history, you can access the case number, charges, dispositions, sentences, and relevant dates. Expunged, sealed, or juvenile records may not be accessible under Minnesota law.

Past Employment

Verifying an applicant’s past employment allows you to avoid hiring a candidate who falsified their experience or credentials. Confirming dates of employment with past employers and specific employment positions can help you avoid liability for negligence in hiring.

Education and Professional Credentials

Checking a candidate’s educational background, including confirming the dates and credentials associated with any degrees or professional licenses, helps ensure that you are hiring a qualified, licensed, and otherwise trustworthy candidate.

Credit Checks

Using a candidate’s social security number, you can review the credit history of a candidate to make sure that they are responsible and reliable. Credit checks require strict compliance with the FCRA, including notifying the candidate in advance of the screening and securing their permission.

How Far Back Does a Background Check Go in Minnesota?

Minnesota background checks are subject to the FCRA restrictions on how far back any adverse information on a candidate may be used to disqualify their employment. The seven-year lookback period for employment background checks does not apply for salaried positions at or above $75,000 or any criminal convictions from more than seven years ago.

While criminal history and other important records may be accessible from Minnesota databases from beyond seven years ago, you should exercise caution in relying upon those records in your hiring decisions. Working with a reliable background screening provider for Minnesota background checks prevents you from considering impermissible information in the hiring process because the screening reports will only include compliant and applicable information.

Legal restrictions on how far back you can consider criminal history in hiring a candidate do not prevent you from recovering and reviewing information on a candidate’s employment history, education, credentials, and other relevant background information from well beyond seven years ago.

How to Get a Minnesota State Background Check

Criminal records in Minnesota are maintained in a central repository under the purview of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. For a state of Minnesota background check, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension requires that you apply for a criminal history report via mail or in person by submitting a notarized informed consent document with a $15 fee.

The Minnesota criminal records available online from the state database are limited to publicly viewable criminal convictions from up to 15 years after the completion of a sentence.

They also do not include information on federal offenses, criminal history or information deemed confidential or private, or any records from other states.

The Minnesota Judicial Branch offers limited online access to public court records. However, these online records will not reflect any pending charges, which includes any cases in which a conviction has not been entered.

For detailed information on a particular offense, you may need to access the records from the courthouse in which the case was handled. Certain case files may not be accessible because they contain private, confidential, sealed, or expunged information that requires special access to obtain.

How Long Does an MN Background Check Take?

The time required to conduct a thorough and compliant Minnesota background check varies greatly based on the resources available and the reliability of the information accessed. Combing through various sources of public records across multiple jurisdictions can be time-consuming and expensive, especially without the assistance of an experienced background screening company like iprospectcheck.

At iprospectcheck, we understand that delays in the background screening process can cost you qualified candidates and obstruct your hiring timeline. That is why we are committed to providing detailed and legally compliant background check reports as quickly as possible.

You can access comprehensive and reliable Minnesota employment background check reports from iprospectcheck in as little as one hour to up to two days. Our urgent turnaround times for Minnesota background check reports help employers like you to make informed and safe hiring decisions without losing out on valuable candidates from a prolonged screening process.

How Do I Check My Criminal Record in Minnesota?

You can access limited public information about your own criminal record in Minnesota by searching the public court records database. For an official copy of your own Minnesota criminal record, you can write to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension with a notarized request form and an $8 check. The processing time is at least two weeks for these requests.

For any information in your criminal history outside of Minnesota, you will need to contact the specific jurisdiction directly and follow their unique process for requesting individual records.

What Disqualifies You on an MN Background Check?

In Minnesota, certain employment positions require a background check, including employees who interact directly with children, medical providers, those with access to private and confidential taxpayer information, and social workers.

Certain criminal convictions for work-related offenses may disqualify an applicant from specific employment positions, but an employer is not necessarily required to reject the applicant based on their criminal history. Public employers and licensing authorities are required to provide access and information to an applicant on the available grievance process for appealing the hiring decision.

How Much Do Background Checks in MN Cost?

Vital records for a Minnesota background check are not centralized in a single public database. This requires that you target individual agencies and departments for criminal records, civil judgments, driving records, licensing credentials, and other essential records.

The costs of seeking out background information on a candidate across multiple states, counties, and other jurisdictions can add up quickly. This can also get expensive for your company in terms of the administrative time and resources that must be devoted to this extensive process.

The cost of conducting Minnesota background checks on your own can make it tempting to rely on free online background check websites instead.

That choice can be problematic and ultimately much more expensive for your company because there are no guarantees that free online background check reports are accurate or compliant with applicable laws.

It is prudent to avoid the pitfalls of a civil lawsuit and additional enforcement actions that result from using free, unreliable, and inaccurate online background reports by working with a trusted provider of screening services like iprospectcheck. We proudly offer affordable and efficient Minnesota background checks and can reduce your costs even further for higher volumes of background report orders.

One of the advantages of partnering with iprospectcheck for all of your Minnesota background check needs is the option to customize the scope of your requested background reports.

We can work with you directly to ensure that your background reports include all of the necessary information for your company’s hiring process without charging you for types of information that you do not need.

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

The process of conducting a compliant and comprehensive Minnesota background check requires access to all necessary records on criminal records, civil judgments, employment experience, education, professional credentials, and other relevant information on a candidate.

At iprospectcheck, we have extensive access to all the above as well as the resources and dedicated staff to collect and analyze vital screening information on job applicants. Our background screening specialists are trained and knowledgeable in all aspects of the employment background check process so that you can be confident our results are accurate, legally compliant, comprehensive, and current.

When your company partners with iprospectcheck to run Minnesota background checks on prospective hires, you can be sure that our customer service will exceed your expectations. Our USA-based team is committed to timely responding to all inquiries and answering your questions throughout the process.

Find out how convenient and easy it is for your company to streamline its hiring process with the help of compliant, accurate, and efficient Minnesota background checks from iprospectcheck.

Contact iprospectcheck today to schedule a no-obligation, free consultation to learn more about our extensive screening process.

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.