Most employers in Oklahoma recognize the importance of conducting some type of pre-employment background check. An Oklahoma background check can help you to confirm your applicants’ qualifications and protect your company’s safety.
Did you know that 94% of employers conducted pre-employment background checks in 2020?
While the vast majority of employers conduct Oklahoma background checks for employment, many do not know how to complete thorough screenings that both provide the information they need while also complying with all federal and state laws and regulations.
Beyond verifying a candidate’s identity, criminal history, employment history, and education, an effective Oklahoma background check for employment will also provide an in-depth picture of a prospective employee, allowing employers to feel more confident about their hiring decisions and helping to protect them from potential negligent hiring liability.
At iprospectcheck, we conduct background checks for employers in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Norman, and more. Use our comprehensive guide below discover how to conduct background checks in Oklahoma in a manner that fully complies with relevant state and federal laws.
Let’s get started.
Why Do Oklahoma Employers Run Background Checks?
There are many reasons why Oklahoma employers conduct pre-employment screenings. Some of the common reasons are listed below.
1. General Pre-Employment Screens for all Prospective Employees
Most Oklahoma employers consider pre-employment screens to be a critical part of the hiring process. Conducting background checks for employment in Oklahoma helps employers confirm that their candidates do not have disqualifying criminal convictions and verify the educational and employment claims they have made on their resumes.
2. Pre-Employment Screens for Supervisors, Managers, and Executives
Corporate executives, supervisors, and managers have greater access to sensitive company information and greater responsibilities than other types of employees. For people in these roles, employers frequently request much more extensive background information than for entry-level positions.
3. Pre-Employment Screens for People Working With Vulnerable Populations
People who apply for jobs in which they will work with vulnerable populations, including people with disabilities, children, and the elderly, are required to undergo extensive background checks because of the vulnerability of the people for whom they work.
Pre-employment background checks in Oklahoma for people in healthcare professions are generally much more extensive than checks for people applying for other types of jobs.
4. Annual Employment Screens
In some industries, employees must continue to undergo background checks on an annual basis or after an incident.
For example, trucking companies are required to complete annual inquiries about their drivers’ driving records under Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations. They must also complete investigations after a truck driver is involved in an accident.
Other types of companies also require their employees to undergo employment checks at regular intervals.
Oklahoma Background Check Laws 2021
When you conduct Oklahoma pre-employment background checks, you are required to adhere to both state and federal laws governing employment background checks. By complying with the relevant laws, you can avoid potential litigation, penalties, and fines.
Below, we’ll take a look at some of the most important laws.
Federal Laws on Employment Background Checks
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, and it protects consumers’ privacy in the information gathered and reported by consumer reporting agencies. This law also applies to pre-employment background checks and how employers can use the information they gather.
Before an employer can conduct a pre-employment background check, it must first notify an applicant that it intends to conduct the screen and secure the applicant’s written authorization. If an employer decides against hiring an applicant based on information obtained in a background check, it must comply with the adverse action process under the FCRA before making a final decision not to hire the applicant.
At iprospectcheck, we are well-versed in the FCRA requirements and always provide our clients with accurate, comprehensive, and FCRA-compliant background check reports.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This law and its amendments are the most important federal anti-discrimination laws in the U.S.
Anti-discrimination laws apply to pre-employment background checks when they reveal criminal history information. If an applicant has a criminal conviction, you must individually assess it as it relates to the position for which you are hiring before making an adverse decision.
Oklahoma State Laws on Employment Background Checks
Oklahoma employers must be aware of and comply with several state laws governing pre-employment background checks.
We’ve listed them below.
Employer Pays for Drug and Alcohol Testing
Employers are allowed to ask applicants to submit to pre-employment drug screens and to make positions contingent on passing them as long as they provide notice to applicants in advance that they intend to conduct drug screens.
However, an employer that requests a pre-employment drug screen must pay for its cost under Okla. Stat. §40-556.
If an applicant fails a test and requests a confirmation screen, the applicant will be responsible for paying for the cost of that test.
Employer to Pay for Pre-Employment Medical Screen
Employers that require applicants to undergo pre-employment medical exams as a condition of employment must provide them at no cost under Okla. Stat. §40-191.
They must also provide a copy of the examiner’s report to the applicant within 30 days.
Employers Cannot Request Social Media Information
Under Okla. Stat. §40-173.2, employers are not allowed to ask applicants or employees for their social media passwords, user names, or use other means to access their social media accounts through electronic devices.
They also cannot ask applicants and employees to open their social media pages in the presence of the employers.
However, they can request access for purposes of an investigation when an employee has used his or her employer-provided equipment to access social media.
Employers Not to Inquire About Expunged or Sealed Records
Under Okla. Stat. §22-19, employers may not ask applicants about any expunged or sealed records. An applicant who refuses to disclose sealed or expunged records cannot be refused employment on that basis.
Special Notice Required Before Pre-Employment Background Checks
Employers that intend to conduct pre-employment background checks must first provide employees with a special notice under Okla. Stat. §24-148. The notice must include a box for an applicant to check.
If the applicant checks the box, the employer must request a copy of the report from the CRA to be sent directly to the applicant at no cost to the applicant.
Ban-the-Box for State Employees
Oklahoma has a ban-the-box law for public sector employers under 2016 Executive Order No. 1023. Under this law, public employers cannot ask questions about an applicant’s criminal history on their applications. However, they may inquire during the interview process.
What Kind of Background Check is Done for Employment in Oklahoma?
The types of information you might see on an Oklahoma pre-employment background check will depend on the types of information you request.
Background checks for employment in Oklahoma can include the following types of information:
- Felony convictions that have not been expunged or sealed
- Misdemeanor convictions that have not been expunged or sealed
- Pending criminal cases
- Arrests that led to a conviction that has not been expunged or sealed
- Civil judgments within the past seven years
- Registration on the sex offender registry
- Address history
- Employment history
- Presence on the Domestic Terrorist Watchlist
- Prison record
With iprospectcheck, you can select only the types of background reports that you need for your open positions so that you do not have to pay for unneeded reports.
Most employers in Oklahoma request criminal history, employment history, and educational history information on their pre-employment background checks.
Here is what may appear on those types of reports:
If an applicant has a criminal history and has not received an expungement or sealing, you will see the following types of information about his or her offense(s):
- Filing date
- Charge severity (Felony or misdemeanor)
- Disposition date
You can then complete an individual assessment of a conviction as it relates to the job for which you are hiring.
Requesting employment verification allows you to confirm the past employment history reported by your applicants. You will see the following information:
- Each former employer
- Employment dates at each employer
- Titles/positions held
Employment verification can help you to make certain that your applicants are honest and have the right types of experience, helping to reduce your risk of negligent hiring liability.
Education verification allows employers to confirm the educational qualifications of their applicants. You will see the following types of information:
- Institutions attended
- Attendance dates
- Any earned diplomas, certificates, or degrees
Employment verification allows you to ensure that your applicants are fully qualified and trustworthy.
How Far Back Do Background Checks go for Employment in Oklahoma?
Background checks for employment in Oklahoma must comply with the FCRA’s seven-year lookback period for all positions paying less than $75,000 per year. You will not see information about the following things when they are seven or more years old:
- Arrests not leading to a conviction
- Civil judgments
- Civil lawsuits
The lookback period does not apply to positions paying at least $75,000 per year.
Criminal convictions can be reported regardless of age as long as they have not been expunged or sealed. The seven-year lookback period also does not affect the ability to report education and employment information, which is reportable no matter how old it might be.
How Do I Get a Background Check in Oklahoma?
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation maintains a repository of criminal history information. You can submit a request by mail or online. School employers can request background checks of teachers through the State Department of Education.
Only requesting reports from the state will return limited information. You will not see criminal history information for other states or receive other critical information about an applicant’s education or employment history.
Some employers try a do-it-yourself approach to background checks by sending requests to multiple agencies, schools, and past employers and performing online searches. This approach might take weeks and return incomplete, inaccurate information.
The best way to conduct an Oklahoma pre-employment background check is to work with a reputable, FCRA-compliant background check provider like iprospectcheck. We return accurate, comprehensive, and up-to-date employment background checks that fully comply with the FCRA.
As an Oklahoma Employer, How Can I Stay Compliant?
Employers must comply with all state and federal laws governing background checks to avoid potential liability and steep fines.
Here are a few tips for how to remain compliant when you conduct employment background checks in Oklahoma.
1. Individually Assess Convictions
If a background check report reveals a past criminal conviction, make sure to individually assess it to determine whether or not it relates to the specific duties of the job. If you determine that it does, you can then justify making an adverse job decision after going through the adverse action process.
2. Send a Pre-Adverse Action Notice
You are required to send a pre-adverse action notice to a candidate when you intend not to hire him or her based on a criminal background check report. The notice you send should include the following:
- The specific conviction
- Copy of the conviction report
- Deadline for the applicant to provide clarifying information
3. Send a Final Adverse Action Notice
If you decide to make an adverse hiring decision, you are required to send a final adverse action notice. This notice should include information about the applicant’s right to challenge the decision and ask for reconsideration.
What Will Disqualify You from an Oklahoma Background Check?
Several things can disqualify you on a pre-employment background check. The different issues that could result in a disqualification are discussed below.
Tens of millions of Americans have criminal records. While having a criminal conviction will not necessarily disqualify you for a job, it can, depending on the job for which you are applying and the industry that it is in.
Fluffing or Lying About Your Past Employment
Lying about your past employment history can quickly result in a denial of a job. Employment verification checks can reveal when an applicant has falsified his or her past employment history. Employers look for honest applicants they can trust.
Falsifying Educational Attainment
Applicants sometimes claim to have attended prestigious institutions or to have certificates or degrees that they never attended or did not earn. Education verification checks can show whether the claims made by an applicant about his or her education are true.
If you falsify your past education, you will likely be rejected.
Bad Driving Record
If you apply for a job in which you will have to regularly drive, your employer will likely check your motor vehicle record as a part of the pre-employment background check. If you have numerous traffic violations or serious traffic offenses, an employer will likely deny employment to you.
Failed Drug Test
Pre-employment drug tests are frequently requested to protect employers from potential liability. If you fail a pre-employment drug screen, you will likely be denied a job.
How Much Does a Background Check Cost in Oklahoma?
If you request a background check from the OSBI, you will have to submit a fee of $15 for a name-based check or $19 for a fingerprint-based check for each report.
You might see certain online providers that advertise free background checks. You should avoid these providers because they frequently provide inaccurate, untrustworthy information, which could potentially result in lawsuits.
The best alternative is to partner with iprospectcheck. We have extensive database access and use advanced research skills to quickly provide comprehensive, reliable, and FCRA-compliant background checks at affordable prices.
We also offer volume discounts to clients who need 50 or more reports per year. Call us today for a free quote.
How Long Does a Background Check Take in Oklahoma?
The length of time involved with the background check process will depend on the avenue you choose. If you decide to order background checks from the OBSI, it might be a few weeks before you receive your reports.
If you partner with iprospectcheck, you can receive your reports quickly. We leverage our extensive access to databases and cutting-edge research strategies to return background check reports in as little as a few hours.
iprospectcheck: Your Trusted Partner for Fast, Accurate, Compliant Oklahoma Background Checks
Conducting pre-employment background checks can help to protect your company’s safety while also protecting you from potential liability.
Here at iprospectcheck, we have all of the necessary resources and training to conduct accurate, comprehensive, current, and FCRA-compliant background checks while returning them quickly. We use cutting-edge technology and expansive resources to find the types of information you might need.
Call us today for a free consultation: 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.