Pennsylvania Background Check Requirements

Running a Pennsylvania (PA) background check is vital for businesses looking to make fully informed hiring 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? 

Businesses running PA criminal background checks can do so through various records searches depending on their needs. These include a standard county search, an AOC records search, or a Pennsylvania Access to Criminal History (P.A.T.C.H.) search.

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 domestic 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 supports your compliance needs. 

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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 candidates are not discriminated against based on protected categories. For example, 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 related to a disability. 

Myths and Benefits of Fair Chance Hiring

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

The FCRA is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and serves to promote the accuracy, fairness, and privacy in the use of consumer information. Applicants have the right to:

  1. Written, stand-alone notice requesting consent to a background check;
  2. A copy of the report and a summary of their FCRA rights if the company may not hire or engage an applicant based on the background check; and
  3. Correct inaccuracies and request a reinvestigation.

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:

When evaluating criminal records, employers should consider whether those records  relate directly to the job role. Employers should also consider whether the criminal case status is a conviction, dismissed, or pending. 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, Beaver County, Bethlehem, Lancaster, Northampton County, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Reading, and York are prohibited from including checkboxes on application forms to ask about criminal history. In Philadelphia, the policy extends to the private sector too. It’s important to work with your counsel to understand the policies and ordinances in your jurisdiction. Find more information on district-specific laws here.
  • Credit History Information – In Philadelphia, employers may not rely on credit-related information for any employment decision, except in limited circumstances, such as the job requires access to financial information or if the law otherwise requires it.

PA 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 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?

 A speeding ticket may show up on a PA background check. 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 be confident in your hiring decisions.