Virginia companies rely on their employees to help to drive business operations and build their bottom lines. Because of the importance of the employees you hire, it is critical to conduct thorough pre-employment background checks.
A Virginia background check for employment can provide you with useful information about each applicant’s background so that you can hire suitable candidates for every open position.
Partnering with iprospectcheck to complete Virginia background checks for your business allows you to ensure that every background check report you receive is compliant with the FCRA and state laws. We use modern technology to obtain accurate and reliable information quickly to speed our clients’ hiring processes.
We conduct background checks for employers throughout Virginia, including in Fairfax County, Virginia Beach, and Prince William County.
This article covers everything you need to know about Virginia pre-employment background checks so you can streamline your hiring and onboarding process.
Let’s dive in.
Virginia Employment Background Check Laws: A Complete Overview
When employers conduct pre-employment background checks in Virginia, it is important that they comply with all relevant federal, state, and local laws and regulations.
By complying with these laws, you can avoid fines, penalties, and potential litigation. Some of the laws that you should be aware of include the Fair Credit Reporting Act, federal anti-discrimination laws as they apply in the employment background checking process, and Virginia’s state laws.
Federal Laws on Employment Background Checks
First enacted in 1970, the Fair Credit Reporting Act or FCRA is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission. This law includes comprehensive rules governing employers’ hiring practices in the U.S. and was designed to guarantee that consumer information held by consumer reporting agencies is fair, accurate, and protected. The FCRA provides a standard that employers must follow in how they collect and use consumer information.
The FCRA mandates employers provide a notice to applicants that they intend to conduct background checks. They must then obtain written authorizations from applicants before they conduct the pre-employment background checks.
If an employer decides to make an unfavorable hiring decision based on the information revealed on a background check, the FCRA has stringent protocols in place for how the situation must be handled. At iprospectcheck, you can rest easy knowing we comply with all FCRA regulations.
Several laws prohibiting discrimination are enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or EEOC, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
This law prohibits employment discrimination based on the protected characteristics of applicants and employees. When a background check reveals criminal history information, EEOC guidance for employers states that they must individually assess the information in relation to the specific positions for which the applicants are being considered.
Virginia State Laws on Employment Background Checks
Virginia has a couple of laws that employers must follow during the hiring process, including a law about social media checks and a ban-the-box law.
Social Media Checks in Virginia
Under Va. Code Ann. § 40.1-28.7:5, employers cannot do the following things regarding the social media accounts of employees or prospective employees:
- Require the applicant or employee to provide their social media account username and password
- Require the applicant or employee to add the supervisor or employer to his or her contact list
Employers are not prohibited from viewing publicly available social media information, however.
Virginia’s ban-the-box law
In 2015, the governor issued Executive Order 41, which prohibited public employers from asking about criminal convictions and arrests on applications.
In July 2020, the state enacted Va. Code Ann. § 19.2-389.3, which applies to public and private employers in the state.
This law prohibits employers from asking applicants about arrests or criminal convictions for simple possession of marijuana.
Applicants who are asked about criminal history information on their applicants are allowed to exclude any information about simple marijuana possession arrests or convictions on their applications.
What Shows Up on a Virginia Background Check?
Most employers in Virginia request information about applicants’ criminal history, employment history, and educational qualifications and history. Depending on the specific position, others might ask for additional types of background information.
Criminal history information
If an applicant has a reportable criminal record, you should be able to see the following type of information:
- Case number
- Date of arrest
- Disposition of the case
- Disposition date
- Severity of the charge
- Sentence information
If you request an education verification on a Virginia background check, you will see the schools the applicant attended, any degrees, certificates, or diplomas earned, and the dates that they were received.
This type of information can help you to verify the claimed educational qualifications an applicant has listed on his or her resume or application so that you can verify the candidates you hire are qualified for their jobs and are trustworthy.
If you request an employment verification on your Virginia background check, you will receive information about the applicant’s past employers, the dates of employment at each job, and their job titles.
This type of information can help you to ensure that your applicants have the types of experience they need to perform the tasks of their jobs and can potentially help you to avoid negligent hiring lawsuits.
How Far Back do Background Checks Go in Virginia?
A background check for employment in Virginia must comply with FCRA limitations on the length of time that adverse information can be used for employment purposes.
The FCRA establishes a seven-year limitation for certain types of information, including some arrest records.
CRAs cannot report arrest information for arrests that did not lead to convictions that are more than seven years old. However, there is an exception to these time restrictions for positions that pay $75,000 or more per year.
The FCRA’s time restrictions do not apply to convictions, educational information, or employment information. For these types of background information, you can receive data from an applicant’s entire history.
How to Get a Background Check in Virginia
In Virginia, the state maintains a central repository of criminal history information through the Virginia State Police.
However, access to the information is restricted to approved agencies and is generally not available to most employers. The information provided only includes Virginia conviction information and will not provide arrest information without a fingerprint card.
Even if you are an approved agency, the information you can obtain through the state repository will not include information about arrests or convictions from out of state, federal offenses, or employment or educational background information.
The Virginia Judiciary has a state-wide system for checking court records. However, the information provided only reflects data court clerks have entered and may not be current. Users are prohibited from accessing this system too frequently and are prohibited from using information they find in a way that conflicts with local, state, or federal laws.
Like the state repository, information gleaned from this site will not include any data from other states or for federal offenses, and the information will not give you any data about an applicant’s employment or educational background. It can also be risky to rely on information from the Virginia Judiciary to make employment decisions if you rely on arrest information from the past seven years.
To avoid potentially costly mistakes, it is best for you to work with an experienced pre-employment background check provider like iprospectcheck. We can ensure that you receive reports that comply with all relevant laws and are complete and accurate.
By working with us, you can receive the information quickly so that you can streamline your onboarding process.
How Much Does a Background Check Cost in Virginia?
If you are an approved agency and are eligible to obtain criminal history information from the Virginia State Police, you will pay a fee of $27 per report. However, the information provided will not be complete and may not be sufficient for you to make good hiring decisions.
Some employers try to use free background check services that they find online. However, this is very risky. Vendors that offer free background checks are frequently unreliable and are unvetted. Many provide information that is not accurate, legally-compliant, comprehensive, or current.
The best approach for completing Virginia employment background checks is to work with a professional background check provider like iprospectcheck. We have reliable access to proprietary databases and use the latest research strategies to rapidly deliver comprehensive and reliable background check reports to our clients.
When you work with us, you can choose the specific types of screening reports that apply to your company. The ability to customize the types of information on your reports means that you will not have to pay for data you do not need.
If your business will order between 25 and 50 background check reports each year, we offer the following packages and prices:
- Basic report, including national criminal history, identity verification, and sex offender search – $19.95 per report plus a one-time set-up cost
- Standard report, including national criminal history search, sex offender search, identity verification, global terrorist watch list, and seven-year county criminal records search – $39.95 per report plus a one-time set-up fee
- Premium report, including all of the information in the basic and standard reports plus education and employment verification – $69.95 per report plus a one-time set-up cost
We also offer additional types of background reports. If you anticipate performing more background checks than 50 in a year, we offer volume discounts. Call us for a free quote: 888-808-9997
How Long Does a Background Check Take in Virginia?
The length of time it might take you to receive a background report for a prospective employee will depend on the method you choose to conduct the background check. If you try to access information by sending requests to different state agencies, it can take you a long time to receive comprehensive information for an applicant.
If you are an approved agency and send a request to the Virginia State Police, the agency reports it will take at least 15 business days before the information is sent. If you also spend time calling each employer the applicant has listed, it can be time-consuming for your human resources staff. Similarly, requesting transcript information from colleges or universities can take a couple of weeks for you to receive the information.
At iprospectcheck, we complete background checks within a few hours to a few days, depending on the information you request. Our fast turnaround times help you to make faster hiring decisions so that you can continue your business operations confidently.
iprospectcheck: Your Trusted Partner for Fast, Accurate, Compliant Virginia Background Checks
To complete comprehensive, accurate, and compliant Virginia background checks, you will need to have access to many different types of records about your candidates. Most employers do not have the time or resources necessary to conduct pre-employment background checks while also ensuring that they comply with all relevant laws.
By working with iprospectcheck, you can benefit from our extensive access to current and reliable databases and our professional staff. Our staff members have the necessary training to analyze and collect crucial screening information for job applicants. When you receive reports from us, you can be assured that the information you receive is current, reliable, accurate, comprehensive, and FCRA-compliant.
All of our background check services are performed in-house. We never outsource any part of the process to companies overseas and always work to maintain the confidentiality of your data.
To learn more about how iprospectcheck can help you fulfill your requirements for your Virginia pre-employment background checks, contact us today to request a free consultation.
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.