When you are searching for the right candidate to fill an open position at your business in Missouri, you will want to ensure that the applicants you consider are truly trustworthy and qualified.
Reading resumes and applications and conducting interviews can help you get a general feel for your candidates, but doing so will not give you a complete picture.
Did you know that a Missouri woman was convicted for a fourth fraud scheme in which she had embezzled from multiple employers?
This is why you should also conduct a Missouri background check.
Employment background checks can help you verify the information reported on an applicant’s resume and confirm whether he or she might have potentially disqualifying convictions.
Based on our experience conducting background checks for employers in Kansas City, St. Louis, Springfield, and more, we have written this guide for you to use to learn more about the process.
Let’s get started.
What is a Typical Employment Background Check in Missouri?
Most employers in Missouri ask for criminal history information on their background checks. However, there are many types of crucial data that you can request on a background check.
A typical background check might include the information listed below.
Employment verifications allow you to confirm the information your applicants have reported about their past jobs.
On an employment verification report, you will see the company names and address for each of an applicant’s past employers, the dates that they worked at each company, and the job titles they held at each job.
Verifying an applicant’s employment history helps you to confirm that he or she has been honest and has the right types of experience needed for the job.
Education verification reports include information about the schools and colleges your applicants have attended and any degrees or diplomas they earned.
On an education verification report, you will see the schools and colleges your applicants have attended, their dates of attendance, and any diplomas or degrees that were conferred.
Requesting education verification reports can help you to make sure that your candidates are qualified and trustworthy while also protecting you from negligent hiring lawsuits.
Criminal background checks for employment might reveal the following information for applicants who have non-expunged criminal convictions on their records:
- Type/nature of offense
- Date of the offense
- Level of the offense (misdemeanor or felony)
- Disposition of the offense
- Date of the disposition
- Sentence information
Identity verification checks allow you to make sure that a candidate is who he or she claims to be and that the information you receive is for the right person.
On this type of report, you will be able to confirm the validity of a Social Security number and whether an applicant’s birthdate and name match the SSN you were given.
You will also see any former names that the applicant has used and the addresses that have been associated with his or her SSN.
National Sex Offender Registry Check
Asking for a national sex offender registry check will show you whether an applicant is a registered sex offender in any U.S. state.
If an applicant is registered as a sex offender, you will see the underlying sex offense conviction and other relevant information so that you can make an informed hiring decision.
Missouri Employment Background Check Laws 2023
When you conduct background checks in Missouri, you are required to follow all of the applicable laws. If you fail to comply with these laws, you could face fines, penalties, and lawsuits.
An overview of the relevant laws is provided below.
Federal Laws on Employment Background Checks
An important law governing employment background checks is the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). This federal law protects consumers’ privacy in their information when it is collected, held, and disseminated to employers by consumer reporting agencies (CRAs).
The FCRA also applies to employers when they receive information on background check reports.
Employers cannot conduct background checks unless they first provide a disclosure in writing to their applicants and employees. They must also get their signed permission to conduct the checks before they can do them.
If an employer receives a background check report that includes negative information, the employer must complete the FCRA’s adverse action process before deciding against hiring the applicant based on that information.
Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act
The most important federal anti-discrimination law in the U.S. is the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its amendments. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits workplace discrimination against applicants or employees based on their protected characteristics.
Title VII covers the background check process in a couple of ways. Employers cannot selectively choose to check the backgrounds of only members of a protected class.
When an employer receives a background check report that reveals an applicant has a criminal record, the employer must individually assess the conviction as it directly relates to the position for which the applicant has applied.
Missouri State Laws on Employment Background Checks
Missouri Executive Order 16-04
In April 2016, former Governor Jay Nixon signed Executive Order No. 16-04, which is a ban-the-box law that applies to agencies within the executive branch of the Missouri state government.
Under this order, executive branch agencies may not include questions about criminal history on their applications.
However, the law does allow executive branch agencies to ask about criminal history information when having a conviction would make the person ineligible for the position under the law.
Kansas City Ban-the-Box Ordinance
On Feb. 1, 2018, the Council of Kansas City passed Ordinance No. 180034, which is a ban-the-box law that changed how employers can request and consider criminal history information from their applicants.
Employers that employ six or more employees cannot ask about criminal history information until after the applicant has been determined to be otherwise qualified for the job and has had the opportunity for an interview.
Employers are also prohibited from considering a criminal conviction for the purpose of a hiring decision unless they have first determined that the conviction directly relates to the requirements of the job.
St. Louis Ban-the-Box Ordinance
St. Louis has a ban-the-box law that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2021. Ordinance No. 71074 applies to employers within the City of St. Louis that have 10 or more employees.
It prohibits employers from asking about criminal history information on their applications, and they can only do so after the candidates have had interviews unless they conduct criminal background checks on the entire pool of final candidates.
Employers also are not allowed to base hiring decisions on criminal convictions unless they have determined that the convictions directly relate to the duties of the jobs for which the applicants are under consideration.
Missouri Expungement Law
Under Mo. Rev. Stat. § 610.140, people convicted of many different types of felony offenses and misdemeanor crimes can petition the court in the county in which they were convicted to ask for their records to be expunged.
There is a three-year waiting period following the completion of a sentence and the payment of all fines for a felony conviction.
People with misdemeanor convictions cannot request an expungement until one year after they have completed their sentences and paid their fines.
If the petition is successful, the petitioner’s record will be sealed and cannot be reported. An applicant with an expunged conviction is legally allowed to state that he or she does not have a criminal conviction if asked by a prospective employer.
How do I get a Missouri Background Check?
You can request a state of Missouri employment background check through the State Highway Patrol’s Missouri Automated Criminal History System.
However, this search will only return Missouri criminal records and will not show out-of-state or federal convictions, employment history information, education information, and other crucial background data.
The Missouri Court System also offers a way to conduct a free Missouri background check through its online Case Net system. This name-based search returns court records from within Missouri’s courts.
However, some municipal courts do not participate in the Case Net system, and a search could return results for people with similar names that are unrelated to your applicant.
Some employers attempt to perform background checks themselves by submitting requests to several agencies, checking references, calling past employers, and sending for information about their applicants from various educational institutions.
Trying a do-it-yourself background check can take weeks and might not return comprehensive information.
The best approach is to partner with a reliable background check company like iprospectcheck. Our process is thorough, accurate, and fast, and we always return fully FCRA-compliant background checks to our clients in Missouri.
In Missouri, How Far Back Can a Background Check Go for Employment?
The FCRA and Missouri’s expungement law control how far back an employment background check can go. The FCRA includes a seven-year restriction for reporting certain types of information when an employer is hiring for a job that pays less than $75,000.
The following types of information cannot be reported when they are older than seven years when an employer is hiring for a job that pays less than the salary threshold:
- Arrests that did not result in a conviction
- Civil judgments
- Civil lawsuits
If a job pays more than $75,000, the restrictions do not apply. The FCRA allows CRAs to report criminal convictions regardless of the salary level no matter when they occurred.
Missouri’s expungement law allows people with certain criminal convictions to petition to have them expunged. Expunged convictions cannot be reported, and an applicant who has an expunged record does not have to report that he or she has a conviction.
The FCRA and Missouri’s state laws do not apply to other types of background information, including employment history, educational qualifications, credentials, and others.
How Can I Check My Criminal Record in Missouri?
You can check your Missouri criminal record by submitting a request to the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s automated system and submitting the required fee.
You can also perform a name-based search on Missouri’s Case Net system to see court records from participating courts in the state with records concerning you.
As an Employer in Missouri, How Can I Stay Compliant?
It is critical for you to always ensure that you remain compliant with the relevant federal and state laws when you conduct background checks. If you do not follow these laws, you could face legal liability, fines, and penalties.
To comply with these laws, follow the tips below.
1. Don’t Ask About Criminal Records Until the Later Hiring Phases.
If you are located in St. Louis or Kansas City or are an executive branch agency, you should not ask about criminal history information until after you have determined your applicants are qualified for the job and have been interviewed.
Even if your company is located outside of these major metropolitan areas, it is still a good idea to avoid asking about criminal history information on your applications and to wait until later to ask.
An increasing number of cities are passing ban-the-box laws, and waiting to ask can help you stay ahead of the curve.
2. Individually Evaluate Criminal Convictions.
When you learn that an applicant has a criminal conviction on a background check report, you must individually assess it as it directly relates to the duties of the job and the safety needs of your business.
Avoid turning down an applicant with a criminal record without first individually evaluating his or her conviction.
3. Send a Pre-Adverse Action Letter.
If you don’t want to hire someone based on negative information in a background check, you must send a pre-adverse action letter to the applicant.
This notice should include an identification of the adverse information and a deadline for the applicant to clarify it with evidence that the information is inaccurate or that he or she has been rehabilitated.
4. Send a Final Adverse Action Letter.
If you still don’t want to hire the applicant after you have completed the adverse action process, you must send a final adverse action letter to him or her.
Provide the name and contact information of the CRA that completed the background check and a statement that it did not make the decision not to hire the applicant.
You also need to include a copy of the applicant’s rights under the FCRA and Missouri state law.
What Disqualifies You from a Background Check in Missouri?
Employment background checks can result in applicants being denied employment for many reasons.
Below, we’ll take a look at a few of the most common ones.
Having a Criminal Conviction Related to the Job
While simply having a criminal record will not necessarily disqualify someone for a job, a conviction that directly relates to the duties of the job can be the basis of a decision not to hire him or her.
False Claims About Former Jobs
Some people embellish their work histories on their applications. An applicant might fudge his or her employment dates, job titles, or even lie about working for a particular company.
Employers that ask for employment verification can easily spot these types of false claims and will likely turn down an applicant who has made them.
False Claims About Education
Some applicants lie about attending prestigious schools or earning degrees they never received. These types of lies are revealed through education verification reports and will likely result in a denial of employment.
Failing a Drug Test
Many employers in Missouri request pre-employment drug tests as a condition of employment. Applicants who fail these tests will have their job offers withdrawn.
Poor Driving Record
Employers hiring for driving positions often request driving records checks. Applicants who have too many traffic violations or a couple of major traffic offenses will likely be denied employment.
This is because employers might have problems insuring them and could be exposed to negligent hiring liability if they give them jobs.
How Much is a Background Check in Missouri?
If you conduct a name-based search through the Missouri State Highway Patrol, you will have to pay $14 per report plus an additional processing fee.
However, this report will not return information about out-of-state convictions, federal convictions, employment history, education, and other crucial data you need.
Some vendors offer free Missouri background checks. However, you should never rely on these providers to make hiring decisions. The information they return is often inaccurate and might not comply with the FCRA and other laws. Relying on this type of vendor could open you up to lawsuits from past applicants.
It is better to partner with a provider like iprospectcheck. We return accurate, comprehensive, and FCRA-compliant background checks to our clients quickly at an affordable price.
We conduct many different types of employment background checks. If you anticipate ordering 50 or more per year, you can benefit from our deep volume discounts. Call us today for a free, no-obligation quote.
How Long Does a Background Check Take in Missouri?
How you choose to conduct a background check will determine how long it will take to come back. If you try to complete the process yourself, it could take weeks to get a background check report.
Most companies simply cannot afford delays in the background check process. This is another good reason why you should work with iprospectcheck.
Because of our extensive resources and advanced research methods, we are able to return reports to our clients in Missouri in as little as a few hours.
iprospectcheck: Your Trusted Partner for Fast, Accurate, Compliant Missouri Background Checks
As an employer in Missouri, you should view background checks as an important part of making good hiring decisions. Conducting employment background checks can help you ensure that you hire the right people while reducing your liability and safety risks.
At iprospectcheck, we conduct up-to-date, comprehensive, and accurate background checks that fully comply with all relevant laws.
To learn more and the services we offer and to obtain a free, no-obligation quote, call us 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.