In This Article


Tennessee Background Check for Employment: A Complete Guide [2023]


Tennessee employers understand the importance of finding the right people to help accelerate their company missions and protect their bottom lines. Conducting in-depth Tennessee employment background checks enables companies to hire suitable, reliable employees who are qualified and trustworthy.

Hiring qualified candidates can help your business to grow while also protecting the safety of your workplace. If you only complete Google searches of your applicants and check their references, that is not enough to protect your business from potential liability.

When you partner with an experienced third-party employment background check company like iprospectcheck, your background check reports will also comply with all relevant federal and state laws.

We leverage modern technology and our comprehensive access to databases to conduct thousands of Tennessee background checks for businesses across the state, including in Shelby County, Davidson County, and Knox County, and in major cities like Nashville and Memphis. We are FCRA-compliant and return results quickly to employers.

To help you understand how pre-employment background checks in Tennessee work, we have written this overview to provide you with more information.

Let’s start now.

Tennessee Background Check Laws: A Complete Overview

When you conduct employment background checks in Tennessee, they must comply with state, federal, and local laws. These laws impact the types of information that can be reported and used for screening applicants in Tennessee. Violating these laws could result in potential liability and other penalties.

The most important laws and regulations that apply to employers and consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) conducting employment background checks in Tennessee are detailed below.

Federal Laws on Employment Background Checks

Tennessee employers must comply with all of the federal laws governing pre-employment background checks. Since the legislature and regulatory bodies institute frequent changes, we keep current with the laws’ changes to remain compliant.


Enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, the Fair Credit Reporting Act was passed by Congress in 1970. This law regulates the information that CRAs can provide to employers for employment background checks nationwide.

The FCRA was enacted to protect the fairness, accuracy, and privacy of consumer information gathered by CRAs and provided to employers. The guidelines of the FCRA govern how Tennessee employers can gather, divulge, and use confidential consumer data.

Employers must get written authorization from job applicants before conducting pre-employment background checks. When an employer decides against hiring an applicant based on information contained in a background report, they must go through a two-step adverse action process and allow the applicant to dispute any inaccurate information.

The professionals at iprospectcheck are FCRA-compliant, helping you to feel confident in the accuracy and reliability of the information we provide.


Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which is the federal agency that regulates employer compliance with federal anti-discrimination laws.

Guidance from the EEOC governs how employers should handle criminal history information on an employment background check. Employers must individually assess criminal incidents to determine their relevance to the positions for which they are hiring.

Tennessee State Laws on Employment Background Checks

In addition to the federal laws, Tennessee employers must also comply with state and local laws that apply to pre-employment background checks. These laws include Tennessee ban-the-box and social media check laws as detailed below.

Tennessee Ban-the-Box Law

In 2016, Senate Bill 2440 was signed into law. This is Tennessee’s ban-the-box law, which prohibits public employers from conducting pre-employment background checks during the initial stages of the hiring process and cannot ask questions about criminal histories on their job applications.

However, this law only applies to employers in the public sector. Several cities and counties in Tennessee, including Chattanooga, Memphis, and Nashville, Hamilton County, and Shelby County have also enacted local ban-the-box laws. All of these laws also apply to public sector employers and not to private employers, however.

Since ban-the-box laws are becoming increasingly popular, private employers should continue to monitor the situation to watch for laws that might apply to them in the future.

Tennessee Social Media Check Law

Under Tenn. Code. Ann. § 50-1-1003, Tennessee employers are prohibited from doing any of the following things regarding the social media accounts of prospective employees or employees:

  • Asking for the password to access social media accounts
  • Asking the applicant or employee to add the employer as a contact
  • Requiring the applicant or employee to log into a social media account in the employer’s presence so that the employer can review it
  • Taking adverse action against an employee or applicant for his or her refusal to give a password, add the employer as a contact, or logging into social media in the employer’s presence

Once an applicant is hired, this law does not prohibit employers from asking an employee for his or her password and username to access a device that has been supplied to the employee by the employer as a job benefit.

What Shows Up on a Tennessee Background Check?

The information that might be revealed on a Tennessee background check will depend on the reports you request. Most employers in Tennessee ask for information about the criminal history, employment history, educational history, and professional credential information of applicants.

Criminal History Information

If an applicant has a criminal offense on his or her record, you will see the case number, charge or charges, disposition, disposition date, and sentence information.

Employment Verification

Some applicants misrepresent their employment records by changing their dates of employment or positions held, or even by lying about working for specific employers. Verifying employment claims can allow you to see the dates the applicant was employed by each employer and the titles he or she held. Employment verification helps to identify honest candidates and protect your company from negligent hiring liability.

Education Verification

Education verification services allow you to check the diplomas, certificates, and degrees your applicants have claimed on their resumes or applications. You will see the dates of attendance and any degrees earned. At iprospectcheck, we can also complete a separate verification of any professional credentials that you require for your open positions.

How Far Back Does a Background Check Go in Tennessee?

Tennessee pre-employment background checks must comply with the time limitations under the FCRA for information used to disqualify applicants from employment. The FCRA provides a seven-year restriction on certain categories of information reported by CRAs, including the following:

  • Arrests that did not result in a conviction
  • Civil judgments
  • Civil lawsuits

However, the seven-year lookback period does not apply to positions paying salaries of $75,000 or more. Other types of information, including employment history and education information, are not subject to the seven-year restriction. You can receive information about these types of information for an applicant’s life.

How to Get a Tennessee Background Check for Employment

In Tennessee, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation maintains the state’s central repository of misdemeanor and felony arrests and convictions information. Through the TBI, members of the public can gain access to Tennessee public records for individuals.

Individuals can request a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation background check online or in-person. The TBI also allows individuals to submit their fingerprints to request national criminal history information for themselves. However, the FBI does not allow information obtained in this way to be used for employment purposes.

Information obtained from the TBI for state arrest and conviction records is limited. You will not receive information about convictions that happened in other states or about the employment history and educational qualifications of your applicants.

It is a much better approach to rely on a third-party company like iprospectcheck. We have access to databases in states across the country and can quickly compile comprehensive and accurate information about your applicants.

How Much Does a Background Check Cost in Tennessee?

If you pay for a background check through the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, you will need to pay a $29 fee. The information you receive will not be complete, however.

An online search might reveal different providers advertising a free Tennessee background check. You should not rely on these types of companies, however. The information that they provide is generally unreliable, inaccurate, and out-of-date. The reports they provide also might not comply with the FCRA and other laws.

The pre-employment background checks from iprospectcheck are affordable and FCRA-compliant. You can choose from the following three packages for 25 to 50 reports per year:

  • Basic package – $19.95 per background report (includes identity verification, national criminal search, and national sex offender search)
  • Standard package – $39.95 per background report (includes all of the information in the basic package plus a global terrorist search and a seven-year county criminal history search)
  • Premium package – $69.95 per background report (includes all of the information in the basic and standard packages as well as employment verification and education verification)

If your company anticipates conducting 50 or more checks each year, we offer steep discounts for volume orders. Contact us today for a free quote.

How Long Does a Background Check Take in Tennessee?

The time required to complete a thorough Tennessee background check will largely depend on the method you choose. If you send for records from the TBI and comb through records online, a check can be expensive and time-consuming.

If you work with iprospectcheck, we can return FCRA-compliant, reliable, and comprehensive background checks very quickly. We know that hiring delays can cost companies money and are dedicated to providing information as fast as possible.

You can receive comprehensive and accurate Tennessee pre-employment background reports from us in as little as one to 48 hours. Our fast turnaround times allow employers in Tennessee to make sound hiring decisions without losing strong candidates because of a lengthy process.

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

Tennessee pre-employment background checks are a crucial part of employers’ hiring and onboarding processes in the state. Ensuring your background check reports are FCRA-compliant can also minimize your company’s risk of liability lawsuits.

The professionals at iprospectcheck have access to the necessary resources to quickly gather background information for your applicants. We are based in the U.S. and never outsource any portion of our work. We value our clients’ privacy and protect the confidentiality of their data.

To learn about our Tennessee background check services for employers, call iprospectcheck today to schedule a no-obligation, free consultation: 888-608-0716

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.