Pennsylvania Background Check Requirements

Running a PA background check is vital for businesses looking to hire based on fully informed decisions. Pennsylvania background checks help employers recruit based on accurate and unbiased information. But knowing where to start isn’t always easy, and conducting background checks can be time-consuming. That’s where Checkr’s AI-powered solutions can help. We take the hassle out of collecting data by checking information from various sources to compile a detailed PA background check for employment. 

Pennsylvania Background Check: What is Reported? 

Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) background checks make the following details publicly available:

  • Defendant’s full name
  • The charge
  • Degree of offense (misdemeanor or felony)
  • The arresting jurisdiction
  • File date
  • Disposition (the current status or final outcome)
  • Sentence information

You may also want to assess candidates based on non-criminal criteria. At Checkr, we offer comprehensive services that go well beyond a standard Pennsylvania State background check.

  • Education history – Vet high school, college, and university records, and GED equivalency exam results. 
  • Employment history – Check local, national, and international work histories to guarantee competency and experience.  
  • Civil information – Get a complete picture of any non-criminal activities, including tax claims, restraining orders, and interstate disputes. 

Federal Laws that Apply to PA Background Checks 

Federal laws apply to background checks in all states. Checkr technology enables you to maintain compliance with all of them. 

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The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

The EEOC oversees all national legislation to ensure background check data is not misused. There are several bills and acts to be aware of, including:

To comply, employers must ensure that everyone is treated equally. They may not use factors like race, nationality, ethnicity, sex, religion, disability, or age to request a background check. Nor should these factors be used in the decision-making process. Genetic information like family medical history cannot be requested, and reasonable adjustments should be made for elements of a background check caused by a disability. 

Myths and Benefits of Fair Chance Hiring

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

The FCRA is overseen by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and exists to ensure that financial data is used correctly. Applicants must be given:

  1. Written, stand-alone notice requesting consent to a background check
  2. A copy of the report and a summary of the company’s employer FCRA rights if the results disqualify them.
  3. The right to correct inaccuracies and request an appeal.

PA Background Check Laws 

Before running a background check, PA employers should also be aware of the relevant statewide legislation.

Criminal History Record Information Act

Some hiring decisions require criminal background checks by law, such as safety-sensitive roles and positions involving contact with children. Specific legislation includes:

Employers may only consider criminal offenses relating directly to the job role. Even then, only felony and misdemeanor convictions can be considered. Applicants must be informed in writing if the decision not to hire was based on a criminal background check.

District-Specific Laws 

Some Pennsylvania background check policies vary throughout the state.

  • Ban the Box Policy – Public employers in Allegheny County, Allentown, Bethlehem, Lancaster, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Reading are prohibited from including checkboxes on application forms to ask about criminal history. In Philadelphia, the policy extends to the private sector too. 
  • Credit History Information – In Philadelphia, personal credit history cannot be used pre-employment unless the position is a management role or involves safety or sensitive information.

PA Background Check FAQs 

How many years does a criminal report cover?

Unless the annual salary is over $75,000, checks can only date back seven years and must exclude arrests that didn’t lead to a conviction.

How can I obtain a PA background check?

The best way to get a 360-degree view is to use a comprehensive background checking service like Checkr. However, you can request a police background check online through the PSP website.

Do speeding tickets and court summons show up on a PA background check?

No, the PA state background check form does not account for civil citations. However, if you are hiring for a driving position, an additional Motor Vehicle Report check is recommended. 

Why Checkr?

Hire faster with Checkr. We specialize in making the background check process more efficient so that you can recruit the best employees in the fairest way possible.