Employment Background Checks for Montana: A Complete Guide for 2022

Most businesses want to hire the best employees to protect their brands and reputation. If you want to hire responsible and qualified employees for your Montana business, using a comprehensive pre-employment screening method is critical.

montana background check

A comprehensive Montana pre-employment background check can help to protect your business’s reputation while ensuring that you comply with the applicable state and federal laws.

Choosing the right employees can help to keep your workplace safe while ensuring that your customers’ needs are met. If you simply check your applicants’ references and search their names online, it will not be adequate to protect your company from employment issues and potential liability.

Here at iprospectcheck, we complete thousands of Montana background checks for businesses across the state, including in Billings, Missoula, Great Falls, and other cities. Our extensive experience and knowledge allow us to ensure that your pre-employment background checks will be completed properly.

To provide you with in-depth information about the requirements for conducting pre-employment checks, we have compiled information about the state and federal laws that govern the process in this comprehensive guide.

Let’s dive in.

Montana Employment Background Check Laws

Montana employers must comply with local, state, and federal laws and regulations that govern pre-employment background checks. Laws and regulations frequently change, making it important for you to ensure that you are complying with updates as they occur. At iprospectcheck, we continuously monitor changes in the laws to ensure that our process complies with all relevant rules.

Federal Laws on Employment Background Checks

Several federal laws govern employment background checks, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for instance.  The FCRA is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission. Title VII and the other anti-discrimination laws are enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

In 2012, the EEOC released  guidance and recommended that employers use an individualized assessment through which applicants with criminal histories are allowed to explain why the employers should not consider them.

The FCRA

The Fair Credit Reporting Act is another major law that you need to follow with your Montana pre-employment background checks.

Under this law, you must obtain the consent of applicants or employees before you conduct background checks.

Montana State Laws on Employment Background Checks

As a Montana employer, you should be aware of several state statutes that govern employment background checks. Under Mont. Code Ann. § 31-3-112, consumer reporting agencies are not allowed to report criminal record information for convictions that are more than seven years old. They also cannot report bankruptcies that are more than 14 years old.

Employers are not allowed to charge applicants or employees fees to conduct background checks or a medical exam as a condition of employment under Mont. Code Ann. § 39-2-301. You also cannot ask an applicant for his or her social media accounts and passwords under Mont. Code Ann. § 39-2-307.

Finally, insurance companies are prohibited from requesting investigative consumer reports unless the consumers are provided notice that they have the right to be interviewed and to receive copies of the reports under Mont. Code Ann. § 33-19-205.

What Appears on a Montana Pre-Employment Background Check?

A Montana background check can be comprehensive and include the relevant information that you need. Most employers request any criminal history information, verification of past employment, and the verification of education and credentials.

Criminal History Information

If an applicant has committed a criminal offense, you will be able to see the file date, charges, disposition date, case number, and you may get some sentencing information. If the applicant has an expunged record, it will not appear on a Montana pre-employment background check.

Employment Verification

An applicant’s employment verification information lets you see whether an applicant has falsely reported experience. You can confirm the dates the applicant worked for his or her former employers and the positions he or she held at each job. This information can help you to avoid negligent hiring claims.

Education and Credentials

Your Montana employment background check can also include information about an applicant’s education and any professional credentials he or she might hold. This can allow you to confirm that an applicant earned a degree or obtained professional licensure in his or her field. This type of information helps you to ensure that you are hiring qualified applicants.

How Far Back Do Background Checks go in Montana?

In Montana, employment background checks must comply with the FCRA and state law for how far back adverse information can be reported and used to make a hiring decision. The FCRA restricts non-conviction information from longer than seven years from being used to disqualify an applicant for employment.

While the FCRA’s restrictions do not apply for salaried employees earning $75,000 or more, Montana’s state law about obsolete information does not have any salary cap.

The Montana seven-year limit applies to the following types of background information:

  • Most lawsuits and judgments
  • Paid tax liens
  • Debts sent to collections or written off as a loss
  • Arrest, indictment, and conviction records

While you might be able to secure copies of an applicant’s criminal history information from longer than seven years ago, it is not a good idea to make hiring decisions based on them.

When you work with a reputable Montana pre-employment background check provider, it can help you to avoid relying on prohibited information during the hiring process.

These time restrictions for criminal history and certain types of credit information do not prevent you from relying on information about an applicant’s education, employment history, from longer than seven years ago, however.

How to Get a Montana Background Check for Employment

Criminal records are held in a central repository with the Montana Department of Justice. You can apply in person, by mail, or online. You must have the person’s name, Social Security number, date of birth, and any known aliases. The MDOJ charges a fee ranging from $15 to $30, depending on the amount of information you request.

The information on a Montana background check from the MDOJ is limited. It only includes criminal history information. It does not include driving histories unless it relates to a felony offense. It also does not include consumer credit information or educational verification information. Since these records are incomplete, they do not provide a comprehensive picture of an applicant’s background.

Going through the records for each applicant in every jurisdiction where he or she has lived is also time-consuming and unnecessarily labor intensive. This approach also may not capture criminal history information from a jurisdiction in which an applicant might have lived.

Because of the serious consequences that you can face for violating the federal and state background check laws in Montana, it is better to work with a reputable Montana background check provider like iprospectcheck.

You can choose the specific types of background reports that apply to your business instead of paying for reports that will not be used. We also offer substantial discounts for employers that order a high volume of employment background checks. Working with iprospectcheck is cost-effective and helps to ensure that you receive an up-to-date and comprehensive report of your applicant’s background.

How Much Does a Background Check Cost in Montana?

If you go through the Montana Department of Justice to obtain a criminal background check of an applicant, it will cost between $15 and $30. However, the information will not be complete and will not include all of the types of information that you might need.

If you search online, you might find unreliable vendors that offer free Montana background checks. However, the reports you might get from these vendors might not be accurate or comply with the laws.

It is also not a good idea to try to conduct background checks within your company by checking municipal and county court records. This approach is not cost-effective because of the number of labor hours it will require.

The most affordable alternative is to rely on a reputable background check company like iprospectcheck. We use the latest research and data collection strategies, helping us to provide accurate results to our clients. Because of the methods that we use, we can return comprehensive Montana pre-employment background checks quickly.

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

Completing a thorough and legally complaint Montana background check will require you to have access to all relevant records. At iprospectcheck, we have the resources you need and comprehensive access to these records for your applicants.

Our professional team is thoroughly trained and understands all the steps involved in completing a comprehensive employment background check. This helps to ensure that you will receive current, accurate, and legally compliant reports.

Additionally, our team is based in the U.S. and promptly responds to any questions you might have during the background check process.

Contact iprospectcheck to request a free, no-obligation consultation to learn more about the extensive Montana employment background check services we offer.

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.

Know Before You Hire

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.