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Ohio Background Check: A Complete Guide [2023]


In Ohio, business owners and HR professionals know how important it is to find trustworthy and qualified employees to improve workplace safety while growing their companies.

No matter which industry your business might be in, conducting Ohio pre-employment background checks is a critical step in your hiring process.

When you complete background checks for employment in Ohio, you are required to comply with all relevant laws that govern how you gather and use your applicants’ information for employment purposes.

Following the applicable laws requires you to stay current with all changes in the laws while having the necessary resources to find the types of information needed to meet your hiring needs.

We conduct pre-employment background checks for companies located in Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Toledo, and more.

We have written this comprehensive guide to help you understand the pre-employment background check process in Ohio.

Let’s get started.

Pre-Employment Background Check Laws in Ohio 2023

Employers and third-party consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) that use the information contained in Ohio pre-employment background checks are required to follow all local, state, and federal laws that apply.

Ohio employers that fail to comply with employment background check laws can face legal liability, stiff fines, and other penalties.

Below is an overview of the most important laws that Ohio employers need to know and follow when they conduct background checks for employment.

Federal Laws on Employment Background Checks

Both CRAs and Ohio businesses must follow all federal laws that cover pre-employment background checks. You should be aware of two primary federal laws, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act and Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.


The Federal Trade Commission enforces the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), including comprehensive regulations written under it that cover how information for employment background checks can be collected and used. This law restricts how CRAs can collect and report information, and it also restricts the ways in which employers can use the information received for hiring purposes.

The FCRA contains a seven-year lookback provision that prohibits CRAs from reporting certain information that is seven or more years old. CRAs are not allowed to report arrests not resulting in convictions, liens, collections, civil judgments, or bankruptcies that are at least seven years old.

There is one exception to the seven-year lookback period for jobs paying salaries of $75,000 or more. The time restriction also does not apply to criminal convictions, which can be reported for any time as long as doing so also complies with state laws.

Ohio employers are required to provide advance, written notice of their intent to conduct pre-employment background checks. The FCRA also requires employers to secure their applicants’ written consent before conducting employment background checks.

If a background check reveals negative information in Ohio, employers must adhere to the two-step adverse action process before a final hiring decision is made.

Title VII

Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act is a major federal anti-discrimination law that is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. It prohibits discrimination in the workplace based on the protected statuses of applicants and employees.

According to EEOC guidance, employers with applicants who have criminal records must individually assess the information related to the specific positions for which they are hiring before making adverse job decisions.

Ohio State Laws on Employment Background Checks

There are a couple of state laws in Ohio that employers should be aware of.

Public employers must follow the state’s ban-the-box law. The Department of Administrative Services issued policy HR-29 in 2015. This law prohibits public-sector employers from asking questions about criminal history information during the early phases of the hiring process.

Under ORC § 2953.32, eligible offenders may petition the court to have certain criminal records sealed or expunged. Employers are not allowed to ask applicants or employees about sealed, expunged, pardoned, or erased records.

What Shows Up on an Ohio State Background Check?

Ohio employers that partner with iprospectcheck can choose from a broad variety of pre-employment background check reports. This allows you to tailor the information you receive to fit your specific positions.

While some of the requested information might vary, most Ohio employers ask for reports about their prospective employees’ criminal records, employment histories, and educational information.

Criminal History Reports

For any applicant whose background check report reveals a criminal history, the following types of information will appear:

  • Case number
  • Arrest date
  • Charge or charges
  • Disposition of the charge(s)
  • Date of disposition
  • Severity of the charge (misdemeanor or felony)
  • Sentence

You can then assess this information as it relates to the job for which you are hiring.

Employment Verification Reports

Employment verification reports allow you to confirm the past employment information provided by your candidates. This information allows you to check whether your applicants are trustworthy and have the right types of experience needed for your positions.

When you request an employment verification report in Ohio, you will see the following types of information:

  • The applicant’s past employers
  • Employment dates at each company
  • Titles and positions held

By requesting employment verification reports, you can reduce the risk of hiring unqualified employees and avoid potential liability.

Education Verification Reports

Verifying the educational information reported by your applicants can help you to ensure that you hire candidates who are fully qualified for your company’s positions.

Your education verification reports will contain the following types of information:

  • Educational institutions attended
  • Attendance dates at each institution
  • Degrees, certificates, or diplomas earned

Education verification reports help you to confirm your candidates’ claimed educational qualifications and reduce the risk of negligent hiring lawsuits.

How Far Back Can a Background Check for Employment in Ohio Go?

The seven-year lookback period under the FCRA applies to Ohio employment background checks. When you conduct a pre-employment background screening, your report will not contain information about civil judgments, liens, bankruptcies, collection records, or arrests that did not lead to convictions that are more than seven years old.

Convictions can be reported no matter how old they might be since the FCRA’s restrictions do not apply to them. Similarly, if the position you are offering pays at least $75,000, the seven-year lookback period will not apply.

While the FCRA restricts reporting of certain types of information, it does not restrict other important data about your candidates’ education, employment history, or credentials. You can use these types of information for employment purposes regardless of age.

How to Obtain a Background Check for Employment in Ohio

The Bureau of Criminal Identification with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office processes criminal history checks for individuals and employers. To secure a BCI criminal background check, you will have to contact one of the BCI’s WebCheck providers.

These reports require applicants to submit fingerprint cards and will only provide information about criminal history information from Ohio. You will not be able to see other important data that should be used to make hiring decisions with this type of report.

If you try to complete comprehensive background checks on your own, you will have to contact multiple agencies, former employers, educational institutions, and more. This can be very time-consuming and could return information that is outdated and not FCRA-compliant.

Working with a reputable provider like iprospectcheck is the fastest and best way to secure accurate, FCRA-compliant, and comprehensive background checks in Ohio. By working with us, you can enjoy fast turnaround times and be confident in the accuracy and legal compliance of the reports you receive.

How Much Does a Background Check Cost in Ohio?

Various WebCheck vendors that complete BCI background checks in Ohio charge $35 per report. This will also not provide you with all the information you need to make a good hiring decision.

You will not receive information about convictions from other jurisdictions, education information, employment information, and other types of information you might need.

You might find websites online that promise free Ohio background checks. It is not a good idea to try to rely on one of these sites for employment background checks. Many of these sites return outdated and inaccurate information and using them could subject your company to lawsuits from applicants.

Your best bet for conducting Ohio employment background checks is to work with a fast, affordable, and reputable background check company like iprospectcheck.

We tailor employment background check reports to meet the individual needs of each client. We also offer clinical services that you might need, including drug tests and more.

We offer several affordable packages. If your company will order employment background check reports at a high volume, you can take advantage of deep discounts. Call us today to receive a free quote: 888-808-9997

How Long Does it Take to Get a Background Check Completed in Ohio?

How long you might have to wait for a background check report will depend on how you conduct your screening process.

If you try to check the backgrounds of your applicants on your own by sending requests to different agencies, institutions, and former employers, it can take several weeks for you to receive all the information you might need.

For example, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation does not offer expedited reports and can take as long as 30 days to return results.

With iprospectcheck, you can receive comprehensive background check reports quickly. Our turnaround times allow you to receive the information you need in as little as a few hours, allowing you to make faster hiring decisions.

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

To complete FCRA-compliant, comprehensive, and accurate pre-employment background checks in Ohio, you will need broad resources, access to information sources, and thorough knowledge of the various laws that govern the screening process.

When you work with iprospectcheck, you can benefit from our access to many databases and our ability to quickly gather accurate and FCRA-compliant information. Our professional staff members understand how to gather and analyze important screening data for our clients.

We make customer service a priority at iprospectcheck. All of our services are based in the U.S. – this approach allows us to protect the privacy and security of your sensitive data. We make ourselves available to answer our clients’ questions whenever they might arise.

To learn more about our pre-employment background screening services in Ohio, schedule a free consultation with iprospectcheck 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.

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.