Background Check Texas
Obtaining a Background Check in Texas
Background checks have grown in popularity because computer technology often makes them fast, affordable, and convenient. Employers save money by verifying employees’ qualifications in numerous ways. Landlords use checks to decide whether to risk renting property to tenants. Private individuals order background reports to check on the background of friends, neighbors, lovers, and business associates.
Businesses use these checks to determine if suppliers, associates, or potential investment partners have the right qualifications, financial resources, and business backgrounds to optimize the chances for success. Unfortunately, many people exaggerate on resumes, loans and insurance applications. Identity thieves steal information and apply for loans, benefits and employment fraudulently.
Texas Background Check Regulations
Background checks prove necessary because people lie, misrepresent, and exaggerate. Often, these fabrications can pose safety risks for family members, associates, workers, or businesses. Texas law allows individuals and companies to outsource background checks to outside companies or conduct these inquiries personally. Texas public records remain open to public scrutiny, and determined individuals could conduct research on their own.
However, Texas law must be followed no matter which method people choose. The other problem in the state is that quick computer searches often fail to provide a complete picture in Texas. The size of the state, the large population, the number of immigrants and transient workers, and the variety of record-keeping systems in large cities and small towns complicate the picture.
Texas must follow the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) laws, federal regulations that protect consumers from false information that might occasionally be reported. Details of Texas law and FCRA regulations include the following information about background checks:
- Companies that deal with the public have a responsibility to investigate their employees or risk facing legal action for negligence.
- Many state laws regulate the timing of reports. In Texas, criminal reports follow the seven-year rule FCRA applies to credit reports. Criminal convictions cannot be reported longer than seven years after release from prison or parole. The rule is waived in cases where jobs pay more than $75,000 annually.
- Some universities in Texas require criminal checks before admission.
- Texas requires screening of daycare employees.
- Companies must notify job applicants if they intend to conduct a background investigation. If the inquiry gets outsourced to a third party, then the applicant must sign a document granting permission. The employer must furnish the name of the investigating agency. Permission is not necessary for background checks by business owners or designated employees.
- Texas employers enjoy protection against defamation lawsuits for speaking their minds about employees’ character and qualifications as long as they do not knowingly report materially false information. The relevant legislation appears in the Texas Labor Code, Chapter 103.
- Home service or residential delivery companies must order complete background checks for employees that enter consumers’ homes.
- The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission prohibits asking about arrest records if they did not result in convictions.
- People employing accountants might choose to order a credit report to determine the financial stability of applicants who handle money. Texas allows employers to order credit reports and use them in hiring decisions.
Information on a Texas-style Background Check
Texas occupies a lot of territory and includes major metropolitan centers, sleepy rural towns, farming and drilling operations, and independent attitudes. Conversion to digital records has been a slow process in many towns. Frankly, computer searches alone often provide only basic information.
Employers could use instant checks to verify Social Security numbers and identities. Once an initial screening delivers positive identification, owners could order a more comprehensive background check.
Texas checks often involve footwork to check court records that have not been entered into any computer system. Most reliable screening companies in Texas offer three levels of service:
- Basic Investigation. This level of inquiry might include searches for residential histories, confirmation of birth records, people cohabiting with applicants, any aliases used including maiden or married names, sex offender arrests or convictions, Texas criminal history searches, and U.S. Bureau of Prisons searches.
- Moderate Level of Investigation. The intermediate level includes all of the research used in basic service plus national warrant searches, law enforcement checks for history of calls near the applicants’ residences, civil and criminal cases court searches, federal litigation, and bankruptcy filings.
- Advanced Investigation. This level generally consists of custom requests that vary tremendously. These advanced screenings include all the intelligence of the intermediate report plus any specific inquiries that clients might request.