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Conducting A New York State Background Check

New York offers some of the best talent in the world. Part of the hiring process is conducting a New York State background check that gives you the information you need for a fair candidate assessment. 

Businesses need to know which New York background check law applies to them to avoid violations and make sure a candidate’s rights are respected. At Checkr, we have developed a revolutionary AI-powered platform to remove friction from the process and to simplify conducting background checks.

What Is Reported On A New York Criminal Background Check?

When you conduct a pre-employment background check, the information you receive depends on your organization’s needs. Checkr takes the hassle out of background checks by allowing you to customize your requests. Most employers ask for a report into criminal history, verification of previous employment, and confirmation of credentials. So, what can you expect to see on an NYC background check?

Criminal History Report

If a candidate has a record, a criminal history background check will contain information like charge names, misdemeanor/felony, case dispositions, and case numbers. Sealed records are not reported on checks.

Employment Verification

Used to verify information regarding former employers, the candidate’s former positions, and when they worked in previous roles. Employment verification is vital for ensuring candidates have the right level of experience.

Education Verification

Education verification returns detailed information about which institutions a candidate attended, when they attended, as well as any degrees or diplomas they received.

Federal Laws that Apply to New York State Background Checks

All background checks in the country must comply with federal laws, and when conducting a NY background check, you must be aware of these laws to avoid inadvertently infringing upon a candidate’s rights. Checkr has products and services to help enable customer compliance with the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act to promote fair and transparent hiring.

Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

Enacted in 1970, the FCRA is the law that protects the privacy of consumers. It also extends to records on employment candidates. In practice, it means consumer reporting agencies may only report certain types of information, and employers may only use specific pieces of information in their hiring decisions. For example, under the FCRA, non-convictions older than seven years may not be included on a report. When carrying out a New York State background check, employers must notify the candidate and receive written consent.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act 1964

Overseen by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Title VII prohibits discrimination based on certain protected statuses. To comply with Title VII, employers are advised to assess a candidate’s criminal history and compare it to the specific job they applied for. This comparison should be done before hiring decisions are made based on a criminal record. In short, a criminal history alone should never be a sentence to perpetual unemployment.

New York State Background Check Laws

All employers should be aware of the relevant employment laws that apply to them, such as laws related to fair hiring. New York City background check law must be adhered to, or your organization could be at risk for legal action and other penalties. Checkr provides services to help enable customers’ compliance to conduct fair pre-employment checks.

Fair Chance Act

Under the Fair Chance Act, a criminal history check in NY may only be carried out after an employer has made a conditional offer. Conditional offers are defined by offers that can only be withdrawn based on the results of a criminal background check, a medical examination, or other information that comes to light.

Background checks need to be carried out in two phases. The first step is to conduct all noncriminal record checks before a conditional offer is tabled. Only after a conditional offer is made can motor vehicle records (which may contain criminal information) and criminal histories be checked. This is because it is unlawful to retract a conditional offer of employment based on noncriminal information that could have been reviewed before the conditional offer has been given. 

NYC Expansion of Ban-the-Box Laws

Ban the Box laws state that hiring managers can only ask about an applicant’s criminal history and conduct a subsequent background check after ensuring the candidate is fully qualified for the role. Within New York City, Buffalo, and Rochester, ban the box laws have been expanded to cover the private sector. New York City applies the rule to all businesses with more than four employees. Buffalo and Rochester have enacted ordinances that prevent employers from asking about criminal histories on job applications and before the initial interview.

District-Specific Laws

District-specific laws must be taken into account. For example, a New York background check in Buffalo may come with different rules than a check conducted in New York City.

Credit Check Restrictions

New York City employers are prohibited from carrying out credit checks on most job applicants. The only exceptions are for those positions that require them, such as if they are required under federal law and the NYC Human Rights Law.

New York Background Check FAQs

At Checkr, we understand that background check laws can be confusing. Here are answers to some of the most common questions from employers.

How many years does a criminal report cover?

The lookback period for a criminal report can vary depending on the state and industry-specific laws that the employer is subject to. In some states, the lookback period may be limited to seven years. In other states, the lookback period may be indefinite. 

How can I obtain a NY background check?

Choose Checkr. We help you maneuver background checks and assist you in simplifying compliance with federal, state, and local laws.

How long does it take to complete a New York state background check?

It can take weeks to deal with multiple agencies, especially if you want to know about out-of-state convictions. With Checkr, we get the job done quickly. We aim to return comprehensive information to employers within a couple of days.

Build A Better Future With Fair Background Checks

Leverage the power of technology with the help of Checkr. Streamline your hiring process with our AI-powered background check platform. We believe all candidates deserve a fair chance to work and that companies shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to find their perfect match. As an authorized applicant agency and leading technology company in the background check industry, we make hiring better, fairer, and more efficient. Transform your hiring with Checkr today.