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When applying for a position to work at Walmart, a Walmart background check is required. And although most of the criminal history search process conducted by Walmart mirrors other large corporations, there are a few things that Walmart doesn’t tell everyone about how their background check report works.
However, this complete guide explains everything there is to know about what a Walmart background check looks for, how long the check takes, and what can disqualify an applicant from potential employment.1
What Does Walmart Check on a Background Check?
For the most part, the information that Walmart searches when conducting a background check on a prospective employee is fairly standard for similar retail positions in the United States. This means that for many people the background check will be a speedy process that will likely go very smoothly.
A Walmart background check typically includes the following aspects:
This is one of the most common things that are checked on a background check at Walmart and virtually any other employer that conducts background checks on their applicants.
Identity verification ensures that the name and social security number provided on the application is correct and belongs to a real person… and that it is this person who actually filled out the application and who will be employed. This check is designed to prevent individuals who have disqualifying offenses from lying about their name and information in order to obtain a job at Walmart.
Employment history can tell Walmart hiring managers a lot about a potential employee. For example, some information includes:
- Training and experience to operate certain equipment:
If an applicant claims to have experience operating heavy cleaning equipment, but doesn’t, that can be a potential danger.
- Prior employment behaviors:
For example, does the employee have a history of working two months at a location and then moving on? Such transiency can be a red flag for many employers.
The hiring process is costly, and if an employee leaves within a specific time frame, it can end up costing the company money.
- Previous reasons for leaving:
Particularly, a Walmart background check will check for any employment that was terminated because of theft.
Similar to employment history, checking the education history of an applicant is standard practice, especially if the position requires a specific certification (such as food or chemical handling) or diploma.
Since Walmart has many ‘departments’ within the store, some areas require more detailed checks.
Sex Offender Registry
Walmart checks the federal sex offender registry for every applicant and denies employment to previous sex offenders.
As part of the application process, Walmart may conduct a drug test on potential employees. Just like the background check process, Walmart cannot conduct this screening without prior consent from the employee.
The drug screening process and what specific drugs are being screened will vary based on location, store policy, and the position being sought by the applicant.
In general, checking an applicant’s credit score is not very common for most Walmart positions, especially those related to the retail aspect of the job. However, for certain corporate level positions, an applicant’s credit score and credit history may be checked.
This is normally done for those applying to roles that involve the company’s finances, and to avoid hiring someone that may have a history of financial crimes. It’s important to keep in mind that there is certain information that Walmart can not gather under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Out of all the possible things that Walmart may check for when conducting a background check on an applicant, checking an applicant’s criminal record is the most likely besides a basic identity check. Walmart will generally examine misdemeanor and felony convictions. Although criminal background checks are extremely common for large companies, Walmart’s criminal background check is more in-depth than the industry average.
While many employers will simply run a state background check on their applicants, a Walmart background check will find information on crimes committed virtually anywhere in the country.
Walmart background checks serve the same purpose as most retail job background checks. Namely, they protect the company and employees from potential danger and liabilities.
This means that in many cases, certain red flags that show up on a typical background check may not automatically disqualify the applicant from gaining employment at Walmart.
In many cases, Walmart will allow applicants to address certain concerns and the hiring team will then make the decision to hire the applicant. These concerns can be anything from prior criminal convictions or discrepancies found on the application after completing the background check.
In other words, Walmart will hire previously convicted offenders of certain crimes.
How Far Back Do Walmart Background Checks Go?
There is no set period of time that Walmart has outlined by corporate policy concerning how far back to examine during a background check, however, like all private businesses, the company is subject to the state and federal laws that regulate the time frame.
Basically, a Walmart background check will go back as far as legally allowed. This means that in some areas, background checks may gather information on crimes committed by the applicant more than 20 years ago, while in other areas, the years of examination are limited.
Although there are no federal laws dictating how far back a background check can go, most states limit background checks to 10 years. There are also several states that limit criminal background checks from checking back more than 7 years.
The states with a seven year limit are:
Although it ultimately depends on the location of the position being applied for, most applicants can expect a Walmart Background check to only look at arrests and convictions from the last 10 years or in some cases even less.2
How Long Does a Criminal Background Check Take for Walmart 2022?
Many background checks can be done in as little as 1-2 days, based on the information being checked. However, since Walmart has a slightly more intensive background check process when compared to other retail employers, the Walmart background check tends to take a little bit longer. There are a variety of factors that may determine how long the background checks take, but generally applicants can expect to wait at least 3 days for their background check to be completed.
In some cases applicants may not hear back from Walmart for over a week, although this is likely due to the hiring manager’s schedule, rather than the background check itself taking over a week.1
For applicants who have not heard back regarding the results of their background check for over a week, it might be a good idea to contact the hiring manager to see if there are any issues that are stalling the process, or simply login to the account to check the status.
How to Check Walmart Application Status
Once a Walmart application and background check form has been submitted, potential employees can check the status by logging into their personal account.
Check for any notifications or problems with the background check, and consult the frequently asked questions sheet for more detailed information.
Lawsuit Filed Claiming Walmart Background Check Discriminates Against Felons?
In July of 2021, Jacqueline Ramos filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the district of New Jersey, claiming that Walmart’s background check policy violated both State and Federal Law by being discriminatory against employees based on race.
The claim was made after Ramos had a job offer with Walmart rescinded after the company was made aware of past criminal charges filed against Ramos. Ramos is making the claim due to the fact that Black and Latino applicants are more likely to have past criminal convictions when compared to white applicants, causing them to be disproportionately impacted by Walmart’s company policy of not hiring applicants with past criminal convictions.
Walmart claims that Ramos was denied employment due to the fact that the nature of Ramos’ criminal conviction would have been related to her job duties. Although this case may seem unusual it is not the first of its kind, with similar complaints being brought against other major companies in the United States such as Walls Fargo, Uber and Amazon.
The Equal Opportunity Employment Commission states that company hiring policies that disproportionately screen out groups protected by Title VII of the civil rights is a violation of Title VII.
However, privately owned businesses do have the right to deny employment based on previous criminal history, if the criminal history pertains directly to the job.
How to Fail: Background Check Walmart?
There are a number of ways to fail a Walmart background check, although most of them are easily avoidable and are of little to no concern for many applicants. The quickest way to have a failed Walmart background check, or with any employer is to be untruthful or deceiving on your application. Although there are more obvious cases, such as using a fake name or address, you can also fail background checks by lying about past employment or education.
Besides lying on your application, some disqualifying offenses can include:
- Failed drug test
- Previous sex offender
- Previous felonies or misdemeanors related to theft
- Violent crime convictions
With regards to previous misdemeanors, many people work with the courts to have these offenses expunged from their record. Once the process is completed, the conviction (and even some dropped and dismissed charges) will no longer appear on criminal history searches.
How To Dispute Walmart Background Check Errors
In some cases, there can be mistakes when conducting a criminal background check. Since the data, for the most part, is entered into criminal databases manually, entry errors can happen. The most common is name misspellings, but even social security numbers can be entered wrongly, causing someone to fail a background check.
Fortunately, the law requires that a disclosure is made to anyone who is denied employment based on background check results. So, anyone who fails will be able to search the report records for mistakes.
If a mistake is discovered on a Walmart background check, there are a number of things that can be done to rectify it.
Step 1: Contact the Hiring Manager
If an applicant fails a background check, Walmart must notify the applicant of why they’re employment offer has been rescinded. Walmart is also required to give out the information of the company that completed the background check as well as notifying the applicant that they have the right to dispute any potential errors found in the background check
Step 2: Gather Contact Information for the Background Check Company
When notified about failing a background check, the first thing an applicant should do if they believe there is an error is to request the information of the company that completed the background check. The employer is required by law to provide this information, so it should not be an issue to figure out which company was used. It’s important to remember that not every Walmart location uses the same company to conduct their background checks so it is essential applicants contact the hiring manager so that they can get in contact with the correct company.
Step 3: File a Dispute with the Background Check Company
The final step is to contact the company provided by the hiring manager about the error. The method of contact will vary based on the company but visiting the company’s website and contacting them via email or by phone is generally a safe bet that will get applicants pointed in the right direction at the very least.
The background check company will then have 30 days to re-verify the information for accuracy, before reporting their findings a second time to Walmart.
Step 4. Expunge Criminal Records
If the disqualifying offense was a misdemeanor, there are processes in place to petition to court to expunge the records of the crime. This is typically done for small infractions that did not result in serious punishment.
In order to have a criminal record expunged, contact the court where the record is stored to learn about the specific process required for that state and locality. It can also help to hire an attorney who specializes in criminal law.
Despite being more intensive than the average company, a Walmart background check is fairly standard, and the average applicant should have nothing to worry about when applying.
1Associate Background Screening System. Wal-Mart. Frequently Asked Questions. 2 February 2022. n.d. Web. <https://absscandidate.wal-mart.com/candidate/views/faq.pdf>
2Walmart Careers. Walmart.com. 2022. 2 February 2022. Web. <https://careers.walmart.com/>