Background checks can collect information from an array of sources including criminal records, employment history, education, credit reports, and driving records. Florida does allow employers to perform a background check on employees before hiring. For help cleaning up your record check out our page on “Sealing and Expunging Criminal Records in Palm Beach County.” 

How Far Back Does a Background Check go in Florida?

In the state of Florida, there are no laws limiting employers as to how far back they can look into a candidate’s past regarding criminal convictions. Although there are no state laws, Florida does have to abide by national laws which include FCRA. FCRA stands for The Fair Credit Reporting Act, The act is meant to protect information collected by consumer reporting agencies such as credit bureaus which can not be provided to anyone without a specific purpose which is outlined in the Act. Information may be provided for credit, insurance, or employment purposes but the consumer must be notified when adverse action is taken on the bases of such reports. FCRA also has a “seven-year rule” which mandates that arrests not be reported for more than seven years on any background checks and convictions no more than 10 years. It is also important to note that this period begins when the charges are filed, not when they are dismissed. While FCRA does cover arrests, it does not mean that any sort of criminal record will not show up on a background check. Criminal convictions can still appear on a Florida background check as long as they remain on a criminal record. 

FCRA (The Fair Credit Reporting Act) also covers credit reports, civil records, civil lawsuits, and reference checks. Bankruptcy cases older than 10 years cannot be included, Tax liens, accounts in collections, civil suits, and related judgments all follow the seven-year look-back rule. 

What Things Fail a Background Check?

Some of the common reasons for failing a background check may be surprising. The most obvious reason for failing a background check in Florida is a criminal history. Other things which may also fail a background check include poor credit history or a bad driving record. Credit history is more important in roles where you will be expected to manage money, especially if it is company money or you are in charge of a company credit card. Bankruptcies may also show up on more thorough background checks, but it will not show the reason why the bankruptcy was filed. Many employers will offer the chance to explain why bankruptcy was filed. Especially if due to extenuating circumstances, a bankruptcy on a record is not an immediate failure for a background check. A few parking violations or speeding tickets on a driving record are usually no concern. When running a pre-employment background check, employers typically check for any DUIs. Verification of employment and educational history is also included, so include only truthful information on resumes and other employment applications.

Drug and alcohol tests are also common when conducting a pre-employment background check. 

Florida Level 1 Background Check

A Florida level 1, or tier 1, background check is a state-only name-based check. This is a term used only in the state of Florida pertaining to a criminal history record check. It involved a search of the history of an applicant to confirm information such as where they went to school, employment history, licenses, and any sort of criminal record. 

Florida Level 1 Background Check is a term used in the Florida Statutes to refer to a state-only name check of employment history, the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public website, and also generally includes a criminal records check. 

Florida Level 2 Background Check Disqualifying Offenses

A Florida level 2 background check is a state and national fingerprint-based check through the FDLE (Florida Department of Law Enforcement) and FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation.) A Florida Level 2 Background Check applies to potential employees designated by law as holding positions of responsibility or trust. This may also include employees who may be working in a sensitive location or with vulnerable populations such as children, the sick, or the elderly. 

Florida Background Check Disqualifying Offenses

In both Florida Level 1 and Florida Level 1 background checks, there are certain disqualifying offenses. Disqualifying offenses include that you have not been arrested, found guilty, or awaiting final disposition of a crime, even as a delinquent unless the record has been sealed or expunged.  Other disqualifying offenses that fail a Florida background check include anything relating to sexual misconduct, adult abuse, child abuse, neglect or exploitation, murder or manslaughter, assault, batter, kidnapping, any sort of misconduct involving a child, prostitution, lewd behavior or indecent exposure, arson, burglary, incest, and any gang-related activity. Certain offenses are only disqualifying if they are found to be a felony such as voyeurism, misconduct relating to drug abuse, theft or robbery, and fraudulent sale of a controlled substance. 

Employment vs Criminal Background Checks in Florida

A criminal background check in Florida is not the same as Employment verification. Employment verification is a standard part of a Florida background check which looks for inconsistencies between the information an applicant may include on a resume or interview, and their actual employment history. This includes if the applicant worked at companies they claimed to work at, the dates of employment, the title held, the applicant’s previous salary, why an applicant no longer works for a former employer, and if the applicant is eligible for rehire. Employees who were involuntarily separated are not eligible for rehire. This includes reasons such as theft, inappropriate behavior, harassment or discrimination, or job abandonment. Former employees who had a below-satisfactory work record would also not be considered for rehire under most circumstances. 

How Long Does a Background Check take in Florida? 

Depending on how thorough the pre-employment background check is, the length of time it takes to perform a background check in Florida varies. Typically, a background check takes approximately two to five business days. In order to prevent delays in the process, it is important to report only accurate and true information on a job application and ensure all documents needed for verification are provided in a timely manner. For help with your specific case, Contact us as soon as possible.

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