Criminal Records – What’s Fair Game In Texas Hiring?

Regularly reviewing your hiring policies is essential, particularly to ensure compliance with relevant laws. If your business is initiating an employment screening program, understanding and adhering to the following hiring laws is paramount. Two key regulations to consider are the seven-year rule and limitations on record use.

The Seven-Year Rule

In Texas, employers should adhere to the seven-year rule when conducting background checks. This rule stipulates that a Credit Reporting Agency (CRA), which includes all background check providers, can only examine criminal records dating back seven years. However, there are exceptions. If the position in question pays over $75,000 annually, employers may review the applicant’s criminal record from when they were 18 years old. Similarly, for roles in insurance or with state or local agencies, this extended review period applies. Additionally, the seven-year rule does not apply to in-home services and residential delivery companies. Refer to the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code for more details, and always seek legal counsel for updates and specific case law guidance.

Arrest Records vs. Conviction Records

There’s often confusion about which criminal history records are permissible for consideration in hiring decisions. Some mistakenly believe that any record, including arrests, is fair game. However, both state and federal laws apply. While certain states lack explicit laws prohibiting the use of arrest records, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) cautions against their use, as they may lead to discrimination, specifically citing that African Americans and Hispanics are disproportionately involved in the criminal justice system compared to the general population. Furthermore, individuals are presumed innocent until proven guilty, emphasizing the importance of restricting consideration to conviction records when making hiring decisions.

When your business seeks support in various crucial aspects like employment screening, criminal background checks, adherence to FCRA regulations, drug screening, verification of education and employment history, examination of driving records (MVR), credit assessments, or validation of social security numbers, reach out to the Swailes Background Team for prompt enrollment and comprehensive assistance.

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