Many employers in Mississippi directly compete to recruit and hire the right employees for their open positions. While the hiring process might place a significant amount of pressure on employers, conducting thorough Mississippi background checks before making hiring decisions is critical.
Employment background checks in Mississippi help employers confirm their applicants’ past employment and education as well as any disqualifying criminal convictions. This process can help employers maintain a safe working environment for their employees and customers and protect against potential liability.
Did you know that a former employee of the Pearl River Resort Casino in Philadelphia, Mississippi pleaded guilty to stealing more than $10,000 from his employer in federal court?
An employment background check in Mississippi should never be treated as an afterthought and should instead play an important role in your company’s hiring process.
Based on our experience conducting Mississippi background checks for employers in Jackson, Laurel, Greenwood, and more, we have created this comprehensive guide for employers to use to learn about the process of employment screening in Mississippi.
Let’s start now.
4 Important Reasons Employers in Mississippi Conduct Background Checks
There are several reasons why Mississippi employers conduct background checks on applicants and employees. The four most common reasons are described below.
1. Routine Checks for Lower-Level Positions
While entry-level employees might not have as many responsibilities as mid- to upper-level employees, it is still critical to perform pre-employment background checks on applicants for these types of jobs.
For this reason, most employers in Mississippi conduct pre-employment background checks as a routine part of their hiring process to verify what they have stated on their applications and to check for any disqualifying convictions.
2. Detailed Screens for Supervisory Positions
Since supervisors and managers have many responsibilities, employers that hire for these types of positions typically conduct detailed pre-employment screens for prospective candidates.
3. Employment Background Checks at Regular Intervals
In some industries, employers conduct ongoing background checks of their current employees at set intervals.
For example, trucking companies are required to conduct annual checks of the driving records of their truck drivers. Certain other types of employers also conduct ongoing screens of their employees post-hire.
4. Employment Checks on Applicants for Positions Providing Care to the Vulnerable
Employers that provide services to people with disabilities, mental health issues, the elderly, and children are required to conduct comprehensive background checks of their applicants and volunteers.
They do so to protect the safety of the people they serve.
The types of background check reports requested by companies providing services to vulnerable populations are frequently more extensive than those requested by other employers.
Mississippi Employment Background Check Laws 2023
Employers that intend to conduct Mississippi background checks must make sure to comply with both federal and state laws. A brief overview of the applicable laws is provided below.
Federal Laws on Employment Background Checks
Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
The FCRA is a federal law that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforces. This law protects the privacy, accuracy, and fairness of background information gathered, held, and reported by consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) and how employers can use it.
Employers must notify applicants that they intend to conduct background checks in writing and secure their signed authorization before they can be conducted. When a background check reveals information about a criminal conviction, the FCRA requires employers to go through the adverse action process before making a final decision not to hire an applicant.
Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act
Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act is a federal law that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces. This law prohibits discrimination against applicants and employees based on their membership in protected groups.
Title VII applies to the employment background check process when a background report reveals criminal history information.
Before an employer can decide not to hire an applicant based on this type of information, the employer must first individually assess the conviction as it relates to the open position.
Mississippi State Laws on Employment Background Checks
Expungement of Certain Misdemeanor or Felony Convictions
Mississippi has an expungement statute found at Miss. Code § 99-19-71. Under this law, first offenders with misdemeanor convictions can ask the court to expunge their records.
People who have first convictions of the following felonies can also ask the court to expunge their records after five years have elapsed since they completed the terms and conditions of their sentences:
- Passing bad checks
- Simple possession of a controlled substance or drug paraphernalia
- False pretenses
- Malicious mischief
People can only get one expungement. Expunged convictions will not be reported. People who have had an expungement can answer that they do not have any convictions under this law.
However, the law expressly states that employers are not prohibited from asking applicants whether they have any expunged convictions.
No Ban-the-Box Law
Mississippi does not have any municipal ordinances, county ordinances, or state laws prohibiting employers from asking applicants about their criminal records on their applications or during job interviews.
What Shows up on a Background Check for Employment in Mississippi?
The information that might appear on a background check for employment in Mississippi will vary, depending on the specific types of reports you request. Most employers in the state ask for information about their applicants’ criminal records, past employment, and educational attainment.
Employers hiring applicants for driving positions also ask for information about their driving records. Most also ask for pre-employment drug tests.
You might see the following types of information on a pre-employment background check:
- Non-expunged misdemeanor and felony convictions
- Pending criminal cases
- Arrests resulting in convictions
- Listing on the sex offender registry
- Education history
- Employment history
- Address history
- Listing on the Domestic Terrorist Watch List
To see the types of information that might appear on some of these reports, read below.
Criminal History Report
If an applicant has one or more non-expunged criminal convictions, the following types of information will be reported about each conviction:
- Offense date
- Type of offense
- Severity of offense (felony or misdemeanor)
- Date of disposition
If an applicant has expunged a conviction, it will not appear.
Education Verification Report
An education verification report will include the following information about each school an applicant has attended:
- Name and location of every school attended
- Dates of attendance at each school
- Any diplomas, degrees, or certificates awarded
Education verification allows you to confirm the claims made by your applicants about the schools they attended and any degrees or diplomas they claim to hold.
Employment Verification Report
An employment verification report will include the following types of information about an applicant’s work at all past employers:
- Names and locations of all past employers
- Dates of employment
- Positions and titles held
How Far Back Does a Background Check go in Mississippi?
The FCRA controls how far back employment background checks in Mississippi can go. Under the FCRA, there is a seven-year lookback period for positions paying under $75,000.
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 lawsuits
- Civil judgments
The lookback period restrictions do not apply to information for jobs paying $75,000 or more per year. They also do not apply to conviction records older than seven years.
However, expunged convictions older than seven years will not be reported.
Other types of background information, including information about an applicant’s past employment, credentials, and education, are not restricted by the FCRA’s lookback period and can be reported no matter the age of the information.
How Do I Get a Background Check in Mississippi?
Employers can get Mississippi criminal records by submitting signed authorization forms completed by their applicants together with copies of their drivers’ licenses to the Mississippi Department of Public Safety.
Licensed childcare facilities and health facilities can submit requests through the Mississippi State Department of Health.
Trying to complete background checks by going through the state’s agencies will not provide all of the information you need about your applicants. You might only receive information about Mississippi criminal records and not information about convictions in other jurisdictions or about your applicant’s past employment or education.
Some employers try a do-it-yourself approach to background checks by searching through Mississippi public records, checking with multiple agencies, and calling past employers and educational institutions. However, this type of approach might not reveal comprehensive information and could take weeks.
The best method of conducting employment background checks in Mississippi is to work with a reliable provider like iprospectcheck. We provide comprehensive, current, accurate, and FCRA-compliant background check reports to all of our clients.
As an Employer in Mississippi, How Can I Stay Compliant?
If you fail to follow the laws governing background checks, your company could face penalties and fines and could be sued.
To remain compliant, follow these tips.
1. Individually Assess Convictions
Anytime you find that an applicant has a criminal conviction, you must individually assess it as it directly relates to your open position. Do not decide to turn the applicant down without conducting an individual assessment.
2. Send a Pre-Adverse Action Notice
If you intend to decline an applicant based on criminal history information revealed in a background check, you must send a pre-adverse action notice.
In this notice, you must include the specific conviction and give the applicant a copy of the criminal history report. Explain the deadline he or she has to clarify the information.
3. Provide a Final Adverse Action Notice
If you still decide against hiring the applicant following the adverse action process, you should send a final adverse action notice. In this notice, be sure to inform the applicant of his or her rights under the FCRA.
How Often Should I Run a Background Check in Mississippi?
How often you should conduct background checks in Mississippi will depend on the types of jobs you offer. For example, employers in the transportation industry are required to conduct annual checks of their drivers under FMCSA regulations.
Many manufacturing companies choose to conduct ongoing drug tests of their existing employees to protect workplace safety and prevent accidents.
Companies that provide services to vulnerable populations likewise conduct ongoing screenings of their employees and volunteers to ensure that they have not committed any disqualifying offenses post-hire.
What Disqualifies You from a Background Check in Mississippi?
Applicants can be disqualified for positions for many reasons. Some of the most common are discussed below.
Certain Criminal Convictions
While not every conviction will disqualify an applicant for a job, an applicant with a conviction that directly relates to the position can be denied employment based on it.
Misrepresentations About Past Jobs
Some applicants make false claims about their employment histories to try to look better. Applicants who lie about employment dates, titles, and other similar things will likely be turned down for employment.
Lies About Education
Applicants also might lie about the schools they have attended and whether they have earned diplomas, degrees, or certificates. Lying about education on an application or resume will likely result in a fast denial of employment.
Problematic Driving Record
Employers that offer driving jobs frequently request driving records on their background checks. Applicants with multiple traffic offenses will likely be rejected because of insurability and liability issues.
Positive Results on Pre-Employment Drug Tests
Many employers make conditional offers of employment based on their applicants’ ability to pass pre-employment drug screens. Applicants that return positive results for drugs on these tests will likely have their offers withdrawn.
How Much Is a Background Check in Mississippi?
A criminal history report from the Mississippi Department of Public Safety costs $30 per report. However, this type of report will not provide comprehensive information about convictions in other jurisdictions or your applicant’s educational and employment history.
Some employers find vendors online that promise to perform free Mississippi background checks. You should avoid using these types of vendors because they frequently do not comply with the FCRA and might return inaccurate and outdated information. Using this type of information to make hiring decisions can expose you to liability.
The best option is to work with a reputable and FCRA-compliant background check provider like iprospectcheck. We have extensive resources and use advanced research methods to quickly return up-to-date, reliable, and accurate background check reports that comply with all relevant laws.
You can choose only the information you need so that you won’t have to pay for unnecessary information.
We offer a broad menu of different types of background screens. If you will need to order 50 or more reports annually, you can take advantage of our volume discounts. Call us for a free, no-obligation quote today: (888) 808-9997
How Long Does a Background Check Take in Mississippi?
The length of time it might take to conduct a background check will depend on the method you choose. If you send a request to the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, the agency states that it can take at least 30 days.
Most employers in Mississippi cannot afford to wait for weeks to receive background check reports and make hiring decisions. The need to make fast hiring decisions is another reason to work with iprospectcheck. Because of our research methods and vast resources, we can return background check reports in a matter of hours.
iprospectcheck: Your Trusted Partner for Fast, Accurate, Compliant Mississippi Background Checks
Mississippi employers should treat their employment background checks as a critical component of the hiring process. Background checks can help to ensure you make good hiring decisions and can help you to reduce your liability risks.
At iprospectcheck, we have broad access to reliable databases and the research skills to quickly return current, accurate, and FCRA-compliant background checks to our clients in Mississippi.
Contact us today to learn more about our services and to receive a free quote: (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.