When performing a background check, Connecticut has at least 10 laws that are crucial to follow, in order to avoid penalties and potential fines. These laws were put into effect to protect people’s privacy and ensure that background information is only used for acceptable purposes.
As background checks become increasingly important in the hiring process, screening companies are popping up all over. Unfortunately, not every service is created equally, so it can be wise to familiarize yourself with the laws that pertain to your particular state.
The following guide helps remove the guesswork surrounding the laws for conducting a background check, Connecticut rules and regulations concerning personal privacy, as well as how to avoid a discrimination claim.
Background Checks for Employment: Connecticut Public Records & Federal Laws
There are 10 laws that must be followed when performing criminal background checks.
In 1970, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) was passed to safeguard the privacy of consumers. Background check laws that must be followed when conducting employment checks are also included in the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act.
As a result of this law, employers are limited in what they may collect or use to screen applicants. This law applies to background screening companies and other businesses that conduct their own history reports without a third-party company involved. The FCRA outlines three basic rules you need to follow:
- All background check info must be reported to the individual being checked with required disclosures, including advertising background screening services as well as obtaining an authorization form for each check conducted.
- Employers cannot discriminate against individuals because of their background or criminal history. All applicants must be treated equally and background info cannot be used as a way to discriminate against certain applicants.
- Applicants must be notified if an adverse hiring decision is made with regard to their background results. This is also known as a background check adverse action.1
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the EEOC
In addition to the FCRA rules and regulations, there are additional federal laws that govern background checks in Connecticut. This includes Title VII of the Civil Rights Act which is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits background checks that discriminate against individuals based on race, color, religion, or sex.
Employers are held responsible for violations of Title VII when their practices negatively impact protected groups.2 Understanding disparate impact as it relates to criminal history is vital when utilizing background checks to make hiring decisions. Hiring decisions in regard to convictions are considered potentially discriminatory, especially if they only consider certain crimes (i.e., felony drug offenses).
- EEOC Guidelines
The EEOC has issued a number of background check guidelines with regard to employee background and records checks. One area that the EEOC is particularly concerned about is former felons who are trying to rejoin society after serving their sentence or paying their debt to society. The EEOC gives special attention to any background check policy that excludes this population from employment.
The type of information the EEOC recommends excluding from background check screenings includes arrests without conviction, as well as expunged, sealed, or juvenile records. They also advise against background reports that include convictions older than seven years.
Employers are held responsible for violations of both the Fair Credit Reporting Act as well as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
State Law Protections in Connecticut: Connecticut Criminal Background
Connecticut has passed a series of statutes governing background checks and background screening in the state. State law generally bans hiring companies and businesses from:
- Prohibiting an employee/applicant to discuss their wages with other employees.
- Asking about past compensation in the initial stages of background screening.
- Requiring a job applicant’s credit report if it does not relate directly to the type of position being offered.
The seven additional regulations outlined in CT include:
|State Law||Regulations for Employers and Background Check Agencies|
|3. Connecticut General Statutes § 54-142a||Under this law, if someone is found not guilty or if a case is dismissed, all court records and charges must be erased.|
|4. Connecticut General Statutes § 54-142e||Consumer reporting agencies must update or delete erased records.|
|5. Connecticut General Statutes § 31-51i||Employers cannot question an applicant about erased or deleted records including arrests, convictions, or criminal charges.|
|6 Connecticut General Statutes § 42-471||Whenever a third-party agency possesses personal information concerning another person, the agency must keep the information secure. Sensitive information must be destroyed or unreadable upon disposal.|
|7. Connecticut General Statutes § 46a-80||A person cannot be denied employment due to prior conviction with the exception of positions where the law disqualifies an individual.|
|8. 2018 Public Act No. 18-8||This law makes it illegal for employers to request applicants’ past or present salary information. It does not prohibit employees from discussing compensation with one other.|
|9. 2018 Public Act No. 11-233||The credit history of an applicant cannot be used in adverse or negative hiring decisions unless this information is directly related to the position being offered.|
|10. 2015 Public Act No. 15-6||Employees are entitled to online privacy. This means personal online accounts such as social media are not to be accessed without the employee’s permission.|
If an employer requests criminal history or other information when making a hiring decision, they must use this information in accordance with state law. They may also be required to have written policies that include guidelines for using background reports in their hiring practices.
State and federal laws protect applicants and employees from unfair background screening practices. Employers should consult legal counsel if they have questions about implementing a criminal history or credit history check in their hiring process.
Are Connecticut Criminal Records Included in a Background Search?
Depending on the type of background check that is being run, criminal records may be included in a background check in the state. A criminal background check in Connecticut is a method used by employers and authorized organizations to access the arrest and conviction records of people who live or work within their jurisdiction. The background checks are generally done when an individual applies for employment, volunteer service, licensing, or certification issuance. There are several things you should know about background checks in the state.
Connecticut background check procedures are outlined in legal code. These regulations are designed to protect citizens from being discriminated against based on their criminal history, which is considered a personal privacy right under the law.
All background check reports must be accurate and all background check companies must provide consumers with access to their background screening history and the ability to dispute any inaccurate reports. Additionally, consumer reporting agencies must follow certain laws related to the procedures they use when conducting background screenings.
The type of information included in a background check Connecticut are:
- Criminal history reports, including arrests and convictions. This includes felonies, misdemeanors, sex crimes, or other offenses.
- Employment verification which is generally determined using information from the applicant’s employer. Some employers verify an individual’s employment eligibility by contacting previous employers to obtain employee data.
- Credentials verification, which includes licenses and certifications that are needed in order for an applicant to hold a job or position.
- Court records, which are documents that contain information about a criminal case and any judicial review associated with it. These reports include judgments, indictments, arrests warrants, convictions, and other legal actions taken by courts against an individual.
- Credit history background checks are also available. This information is gathered from financial institutions and credit reporting agencies, which includes data such as outstanding loans or unpaid bills.
Are Arrest Records Available With Background Checks Connecticut?
Arrest records are how to find out if someone was arrested. Arrest records are accessible when conducting a background check in Connecticut. Arrest records and criminal records are made available by the Connecticut State Police.
An arrest is any instance where a person is taken into custody and processed based on probable cause or reasonable suspicion of a crime. The police may make an arrest without completing formal charges, which means that the records will remain in their database even if charges are never filed against the individual. Arrests may also result from violations such as traffic offenses such as speeding, DUI (driving under the influence), and reckless or careless driving.
If you are interested in obtaining Connecticut arrest records, there are two primary types of reports that may be available:
- Arrest history report – This includes any arrests reported to the state police. If an individual was arrested but not convicted they will still show up in the report.
- Arrest warrant search – Do warrants show up on background checks? This record includes any active arrest warrants that are currently outstanding, which means they have not been executed or vacated by a court. You may also be able to see if an individual has had an arrest warrant removed from their record.
The information that is included in a police record includes the name of the individual arrested, date of birth, and sex. These three pieces of information combined will help identify the correct person who was arrested for a crime. The date and time which an incident occurred will also be included along with a case number and the charges filed.
The search results for background checks Connecticut include all arrest records that have not been sealed or expunged. When a record is sealed, it means the information will not be accessible to any person who requests an arrest records search. Expunged arrests and convictions will also not appear on a records check if they were part of adult criminal history that has been withdrawn or juvenile adjudications that have been ordered removed from public view by court order.
What Are Some Reasons Why Someone’s Criminal Record May Not Show Up? (How Long Will It Take To Get Results in Connecticut?)
If someone’s criminal record does not appear on a background check, it is usually because the information has been expunged. Expungement of arrests and convictions may be done by state law or court order under certain conditions. When this happens, the public will no longer have access to that person’s arrest records.
The following are examples of reasons for expungement:
- If the arrest was a result of identity theft, mistaken identity, or a false charge because another person used that individual’s name to commit the crime.
- If the charges were dismissed by a court and there is no pending case against an individual at this time.
- Convictions can also be expunged if they are more than three years old for a misdemeanor and five years old for a felony as long as the individual has not been arrested for another crime during that time.
Criminal court records can only be sealed or expunged upon court order. If someone chooses to petition their case to a judge, it must include information about why this step should be taken in addition to what steps have been taken to prevent future criminal activity.
It is important to note that sealed or expunged records may not be used by employers or organizations when making hiring decisions. However, expunged records may still be subject to inspection by law enforcement agencies and courts of criminal jurisdiction.
Connecticut criminal background information can be obtained by contacting the state police department and filing a formal records request. A trustworthy background screening agency can also perform criminal background checks which will be reported back to you in a timely fashion.
Reports may include information from the Connecticut Department of Corrections, Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), and other agencies as well as arrest data that is provided directly by law enforcement or correctional departments across the state. The specific details included will depend on the type of record that was requested and whether it was a state or federal record.
The time it takes to obtain results for a background check Connecticut will depend on the type of request being made and whether any records have been sealed, expunged, or restricted from public view. The general processing time for criminal history requests is five to ten days but this may vary depending on the specific details of the state and record type.
Which Connecticut Court Records Are Considered Public Records?
All Connecticut court records are considered Connecticut public records unless they are explicitly made confidential. With the exception of juvenile adjudications, there is no privacy protection for any case that goes through state courts. This means that all judgments or actions taken by a judge can be accessed by anyone who requests them from the Connecticut Judicial Branch department with a form.
Public criminal records will include information about arrests and convictions. They will also include the details of bail or bond payments, outstanding fees, and fines that have not been paid yet, as well as pending charges against an individual. Criminal records may only be expunged by court order through a petition process if certain conditions apply.
Civil court records may also be requested and include information such as marriage or divorce, adoption proceedings, name changes, property transfers or sales, and lawsuits filed against someone. Civil court records may only be sealed if a judge determines that it is in the public’s best interest to do so and there are no pending cases.
Employers use court records to screen applicants and employees. Employers may not ask if someone has had any arrests or convictions in the past on an initial job application form due to ban the box laws in the state. If the records are sealed, they are not allowed to ask about the individual’s criminal history. If an employer does find out that someone has sealed or expunged records, they cannot use this information in their hiring decisions unless it is specifically stated by law.
Employers are legally required to follow the Fair Credit Reporting Act and other federal laws when screening potential employees. They are required to inform applicants or employees if they are denied employment based solely on the results of a background check, and must provide information about how to contest inaccurate records.
If an employer is hiring for specific types of jobs, they may be required to conduct a background check, Connecticut laws adhere to federal regulations. These jobs include law enforcement, child care workers, and other types of work that require a security clearance. It is illegal in Connecticut to discriminate against someone due to their criminal history unless it directly relates to the job they are applying for.
Each state has individual laws governing what is considered public record, so it will vary depending on where you live. It is also important to note that each state may define certain expungements and the sealing of records differently, which could change what information an employer or organization can access when conducting a background check. In Connecticut, the only way to guarantee that an employer or organization cannot access your criminal history is through a court order for expungement.
What Are Firearm Background Checks in the State of Connecticut
In 2014, Connecticut became one of the first states to enact a firearm background checks law for all gun sales. The idea behind this was that background checks would help prevent people with criminal backgrounds from purchasing firearms and committing further crimes. While criminals can still find ways around background checks (such as buying guns illegally), this law was enacted in order to limit the number of guns available to those with a higher risk for committing violent acts.
Universal Background Check laws are enforced by the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP).3 Background checks are conducted via the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) in order to determine eligibility.
When a person goes to purchase a gun in the state of Connecticut, they go through an extensive background screening process. The applicant must provide DESPP with identification information such as a photo ID or driver’s license number. This is used to verify their identity against the NICS database.
After the identity is confirmed, criminal history information such as arrests and convictions will be reviewed by DESPP to determine eligibility for firearm purchase. If they are eligible, a permit or eligibility certificate is issued which allows them to take possession of a gun.
How To Verify Background Check Accuracy
Whether you are an employer or an applicant, it is important to know how to get a background check to look for inaccuracies. If you are an employer, it is important to be aware that there may not always be full disclosure by the applicant about their criminal history. This means that any inaccuracies on a background check could affect your hiring decision even if they were truthful during the interview process.
If you are an applicant and find out that your application was denied because of information on a background check, you must request your official records court records, or any other documents that were used to conduct the screening. If there are inaccuracies in these reports, it is important to dispute them immediately so they can be corrected before another employer sees this information.
If all else fails and you feel like someone has access to inaccurate information about you, conduct a background search with a reputable agency in order to see what information is accessible. If you find inaccurate records, take the time to contact those agencies and request that this information be removed from your record.
Connecticut has a number of laws that govern background checks for employers or organizations conducting screenings on applicants or employees. Applicants may not have complete control over their criminal history unless it is expunged or sealed, and employers must follow state and federal regulations. Every state has different laws governing public records, but it is important to be aware of your rights as an applicant before you apply for a job that requires a background check, Connecticut employers should also know the 10 regulations they must follow.
1Kagan, Julia. 21 September 2021. Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Investopedia. 18 November 2021. Web. <https://www.investopedia.com/terms/f/fair-credit-reporting-act-fcra.asp>
2EEOC. 25 April 2021. Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. EEOC. 18 November 2021. Web. <https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/enforcement-guidance-consideration-arrest-and-conviction-records-employment-decisions#V>
3Giffords Law Center. 20 May 2021. Universal Background Checks in Connecticut. Giffords Law Center. 18 November 2021. Web. <https://giffords.org/lawcenter/state-laws/universal-background-checks-in-connecticut>