Background Checks (FAQ)
DISA’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Background Checks
A background check is an inquiry into, among other things, an individual’s character, general reputation, personal characteristics, and/or mode of living.
Organizations owe it to themselves and their customers to research the background of potential employees and volunteers to ensure the safety of other employees, customers, and their property. The most effective method to accomplish this is by conducting thorough background checks. The costs of fraud, embezzlement, theft, and violence are a multi-billion dollar drain on our economy, bleeding organizations both large and small. One of the most compelling reasons organizations now conduct background checks is to uncover deception or fraud. For example, it can confirm whether an individual provided accurate information on his/her resume or application. Depending on the industry, some form of background investigation may be required, whether because it is mandated by law or because their insurance company demands it.
Background checks often include a criminal history search at a minimum. However, depending upon the nature of the job, for persons in more sensitive, high-level positions or those dealing with vulnerable populations, it may also include investigation of credit reports, sanctions checks, sex offender checks, and/or driving history.
Background checks also may include verification of previous employment, education, professional licenses, and personal or professional references.
Depending on the scope of the search allowable by law or requested by an employer, records of convictions of a felony or misdemeanor are usually reported on a background check. Non-convictions may be reported in some cases depending on the date of the charge or whether a case has been dismissed. Federal and state law will determine how far back criminal records can be reported.
A felony is typically defined as a crime punishable by a term of imprisonment of not less than one year or by the death penalty. Felonies may include crimes such as arson, assault, battery, fraud, homicide, kidnapping, rape, robbery, sex crimes, and terrorism.
Misdemeanors are often less serious crimes and are generally punishable by less than 12 months in jail. Community service, probation, fines, and imprisonment for less than a year are commonly issued punishments for misdemeanors. Obviously, each state may vary as to what is classified as a misdemeanor or felony.
The background screening company will contact verified previous employers to confirm dates of employment, job title, and reason for leaving. Education verifications generally confirm the year of graduation, major, degree earned, and attendance dates.
A credit report is sourced at one of the three major credit bureaus. A credit report can reveal if an applicant has lived at a particular address or addresses for a length of time and can be an indicator of how responsibly he/she has handled personal financial affairs. In some states, this product can only be used for certain positions, such as fiduciary or executive management positions, or for certain regulated employers. Note, no credit score is provided on the credit report for employment purposes. State and local laws restrict when a credit report can be obtained for employment purposes.
This product verifies current driving history from the Department of Motor Vehicles; it may report arrests/convictions/suspensions for speeding and driving while intoxicated, which may indicate a history of reckless behavior.
To request a copy of a previous background check, please click on the link below and fill out the form.
DISA accesses a database that consists of more than 180 million criminal record files, which have been compiled from a variety of sources, including local law enforcement, statewide criminal record repositories, departments of corrections, state parole and probation records, local public records sources, etc. to identify pointer data to be verified at the source. DISA also uses data sources to compile counties where a person may have lived. The database file may uncover multiple states/jurisdictions where the applicant had no previous address history. These products serve as a pointer used to determine the jurisdictions in which an individual has lived, worked, or attended school for purposes of criminal history ordering.
According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) § 604 – 15 U.S.C. § 1681b, employers are required to provide applicants with a separate written disclosure, which advises that a consumer report may be obtained for employment purposes. The document must consist solely of the disclosure as a stand-alone document. Additionally, the employer also must obtain the applicant’s written consent to order the background check.
DISA’s Client Services department team can answer most questions you may have. Please call them at 281-673-2450. In addition, your contractor employer should be able to provide information about specific owner requirements.
You will need to contact your contract employer for the specific owner’s procedure for obtaining a waiver or exemption.
In most cases, a background check is good for two years. You should check with the contractor employer for a specific owner’s time frame.