Background Checks: Colorado

Pre-employment background checks are an essential step in the hiring process. Businesses want to invest in the right talent for their teams, so it can be a good practice to conduct due diligence on each candidate’s criminal, employment, education, and legal history with a background check. Colorado allows controlled access to information that helps you gain a well-rounded view of each applicant.

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State of Colorado background checks help employers make the best choices based on accurate, credible, and unbiased information. From Durango to Denver and Steamboat to Colorado Springs, background checks are essential for large and small businesses alike. They can save your organization from costly decisions by helping to mitigate risk—but knowing where to start isn’t always easy. Conducting background checks yourself can be time-consuming and laborious. That’s where Checkr comes in. Our AI-powered solutions take the hassle out of Colorado criminal background checks.

Colorado background check: what is reported? 

Organizations in sectors like banking, childcare, and education require criminal checks as standard practice. However, all businesses can benefit from thoroughly vetting their candidates.

Education History

Education verification confirms a candidate’s certifications and educational claims by checking high school, college, and university records and confirming GED equivalency exam results.

Criminal Background Checks

In Colorado, employers have the option to run criminal background checks via standard county search, default state search (AOC), and a Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) search. 

However, there are a few instances where criminal history may not show up in background checks. Colorado regulations don’t allow the release of juvenile conviction records or information on cases that have been sealed or expunged by a court, for example.

Depending on the role you are hiring for, you may also want to vet candidates based on non-criminal criteria. At Checkr, we offer comprehensive services that go well beyond a standard Colorado criminal background check.

Employment History

By verifying applicants’ domestic and international work histories, we can ensure your new hires have the experience you need for your business to thrive.

Civil Information

Our AI-powered core searches county and federal records to provide a complete picture of any non-criminal activities, including tax claims, restraining orders, and any interstate disputes.

Driving History

For positions that require clean and accurate driving histories, we use DMV and other licensing body information to check license status, class, and any violations or suspensions.

Federal laws that apply to background checks in Colorado 

There are several federal laws that employers must follow. Checkr technology empowers you to background check Colorado and interstate applicants and supports your compliance needs.

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The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

It is not illegal for employers to ask questions about an applicant’s past or run a background check. However, federal laws exist to prevent this information from being mismanaged or misused, and various legislation protects employees from discrimination. All are overseen by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). 

Examples include:


That’s an incredible amount of legal information to navigate and the way you use candidates’ information must be mindful of the regulations. The key takeaway for an employer is to ensure that it is not discriminating against candidates based on protected categories. Here is a summary of the main points:

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The Fair Credit Reporting Act

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and serves to promote the accuracy, fairness, and privacy in the use of consumer information:

Before requesting a background check

Applicants must be given a written, stand-alone notice to request consent to a background check and be made aware that details revealed may be used to make decisions about their employment.

Before taking adverse action

If information on a background check may prevent the business from hiring an applicant, the business must provide a copy of the report, a summary of their rights under the FCRA, and time to review both documents. 

At any point in the process

Applicants have the right to review and correct inaccuracies and request a reinvestigation.

Colorado background check laws

Before running a background check, Colorado employers should also be aware of the following state laws.

Colorado Open Records Act 

Established in 1968, the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) allows open access to most public records. To request access to CORA documents, employers should send a written request by email or post to the CORA Records department at the office of the Secretary of State. 

The Freedom of Information Act protects requests for federal government documents, except for nine categories of information whose release would be harmful to governmental or private interest. Examples include:

  • Details of research projects
  • Personal identifiable information (PII) or private contact information
  • Information concerning a current legal or administrative investigation
  • Medical or mental health information
  • Marriage and civil union license applications

Ban the Box Policy

Since 2012, public-sector employers in Colorado have been prohibited from including checkboxes on their initial application forms asking if applicants have ever committed a crime or been incarcerated. The only exception is for positions requiring a background check by law.

To run a background check, Colorado employers must wait until the candidate has been named on the final shortlist or been given a conditional job offer. Since 2019, the Ban the Box policy has also applied to private-sector positions, even though successful employment may ultimately depend on a background check. The Ban the Box policy does state that employers may obtain a “publicly available criminal background report” at any time.  

District-specific laws 

Federal and state laws apply to all Colorado businesses, so there should be no variance in background check procedures across different municipalities. There are, however, some laws that regulate Colorado background check requirements by organizational size. For example, no business can request or use a credit history report to make an employment decision without the applicant’s prior consent and reason that the check substantially relates to the  job position or is required by law. 

Colorado state background check FAQs 

How many years does a criminal report cover?

Under the FCRA, convictions, regardless of how old it is, can appear on the report. Non-convictions older than seven years cannot appear on the report.

How can I obtain a background check in Colorado?

The best way to get a 360-degree view is to use a comprehensive background checking service like Checkr. However, you can apply for CORA public access records using the following details. 

CORA Custodian
1700 Broadway, Suite 200
Denver, CO 80290

To access criminal records, you’ll need to call the Colorado Bureau of Investigation or use the online Criminal History Check System.

Are criminal records public in Colorado?

Yes. Under CORA regulations, criminal records are public.

Can people request public records from out of state?

Yes. CORA does not have a state residency requirement for access requests.

Do speeding tickets and court summons show up on a state of Colorado background check?

A speeding conviction could appear on a Colorado background check, depending on the severity of the ticket.  If you are hiring for a driving position, an additional Motor Vehicle Report check is also recommended.

Build A Better Future With Fair Background Checks

Hire fairer with Checkr. We specialize in making the background check process more efficient so you can increase your conversion rate and onboard employees faster.