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Background Checks|Students' Attorney Program - ASUW
   

SKELETONS IN YOUR CLOSET?  THEY MAY IMPACT YOUR POTENTIAL FOR EMPLOYMENT!

BACKGROUND CHECKS AND WHAT THEY MEAN TO YOU

Provided by ASUW Students' Attorney Office

Prepared by Anette J. Beebe for SAP - Spring 2011

 

You've got all the requirements for the job, and then some, but yet you still don't get the job?  You've met all the requirements to get into that educational program, and then some but you still don't get accepted.  You're not a bad person...and you've been good (minus that one time - but you never mentioned anything about that)....so what's the deal?  Believe it or not, that employer or admissions director may know all about that "one time" and could be barring you from getting that job or admission letter!

 

Background Check:  What Is It?

A background check, or background investigation, is the process of looking up and compiling criminal records, commercial records, financial records (in certain instances such as employment screening), and even physical/mental records of an individual.

 

What Types of Investigative Searches Can Be Conducted and Who Conducts Them?

There are a variety of types of investigative searches that can be used by potential employers.  Many commercial sites will offer specific searches to employers for a fee.  Services like these will actually perform the checks, supply the company with adverse action letters, and ensure compliance throughout the process.  It is important to be selective about which pre-employment screening agency you use.  A legitimate company will be happy to explain the process to you.

 

Many employers choose to search the most common records such as criminal records, driving records, and education verification.  Other searches such as sex offender registry, credential verification, skills assessment, reference checks, credit reports, and Patriot Act searches are becoming increasingly common.  Employers should consider the position in question when determining which types of searches to include, and should always use the same searches for every applicant being considered for one.

 

Why Are They Looking Into My Background?

Background checks are frequently conducted to confirm information found on an employment application or résumé/curriculum vitae.  One study showed that half of all reference checks done on prospective employees differed between what the job applicant provided and what the source reported.  They may also be conducted as a way to further differentiate potential employees and pick the one the employer feels is best suited for the position.  As workplace violence becomes more of an issue and other serious concerns since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, employers are becoming more concerned about the people they hire.  Employers have an obligation to make sure their work environment is safe for all employees and helps prevent other employment problems in the workplace.

In the United States, the Brady Bill requires criminal checks for those wishing to purchase handguns from licensed firearms dealers.  Restricted firearms (like machine guns), suppressors, explosives or large quantities of precursor chemicals, and concealed weapons permits also require criminal checks.

 

Checks are also required for those working in positions with special security concerns, such as trucking, ports of entry, and airports (including airline transportation). Other laws exist to prevent those who do not pass a criminal check from working in careers involving the elderly, disabled, or children.

 

Recently, many jobs are using pre-employment credit checks and the trend has appear to have grown since 2000 within the United States.  According to a survey in 2010, many individuals felt that employers should have the right and duty to check credit reports for all jobs, while another 28 percent felt that it depended on the potential employee's job responsibilities such as banking or accounting jobs.  Those looking for jobs should consider correcting the problems or errors found in their credit reports.  This will help ensure that a bad credit report will not hinder a job search.

 

What Information About Me Might Be Included in a Background Check?

The amount of information included on a background check depends to a large degree on the sensitivity of the reason for which it is conducted-e.g.., somebody seeking employment at a minimum wage job would be subject to far fewer requirements than somebody applying to work for a law enforcement agency such as the FBI or jobs related to national security.

 

Criminal, Arrest, Incarceration, and Sex Offender Records

There are several types of criminal record searches available to employers, some more accurate and up to date than others.  These "third party" background checking agencies cannot guarantee the accuracy of their information, thus many of them have incomplete records or inaccurate records.  The only way to conduct an accurate background check is to go directly through the state.  Most times using the state of choice is much cheaper than using a "third party" agency.  Many websites offer the "instant" background check, which will search a compilation of databases containing public information for a fee.  These "instant" searches originate from a variety of sources, from statewide court and corrections records to law enforcement records which usually stem from county or metro law enforcement offices.  There are also other database-type criminal searches, such as statewide repositories and the national crime file.  A commonly used criminal search by employers who outsource is the county criminal search.

 

Citizenship, Immigration, or Legal Work Status

The hiring of illegal workers has become an issue for American businesses since the forming of the Department of Homeland Security and its Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) division.  Many history making immigration raids over the past two years have forced employers to consider including legal working status as part of their background screening process.  All employers are required to keep government Form I-9 documents on all employees and some states mandate the use of the federal E-verify program to research the working status of Social Security numbers.  With increased concern for right-to-work issues, many outsourcing companies are sprouting in the marketplace to help automate and store Form I-9 documentation.  Some jobs are only available to citizens who are residents of that country due to security concerns.

 

Litigation Records

Employers may want to identify potential employees who routinely file discrimination lawsuits.  It has also been alleged that in the U.S., employers that do work for the government do not like to hire whistleblowers who have a history of filing qui tam suits.

  • Qui tam is a provision of the Federal Civil False Claims Act that allows private citizens to file a lawsuit in the name of the U.S. Government charging fraud by government contractors and others who receive or use government funds, and share in any money recovered.

 

Driving and Vehicle Records

Employers that routinely hire drivers or are in the transportation sector seek drivers with clean driving records-i.e.., those without a history of accidents or traffic tickets.  Department of Motor Vehicles and Department of Transportation records are searched to determine a qualified driver.

 

Drug Tests

Drug tests are used for a variety of reasons-corporate ethics, measuring potential employee performance, and keeping workers' compensation premiums down.

 

Education Records

These are used primarily to see if the potential employee had graduated from high school (or a GED) or received a college degree, graduate degree, or some other accredited university degree.  There are reports of SAT scores being requested by employers as well.

 

Employment Records

These usually range from simple verbal confirmations of past employment and timeframe to deeper, such as discussions about performance, activities and accomplishments, and relations with others.

 

Financial Information

Credit scores, liens, civil judgments, bankruptcy, and tax information may be included in the report.

  • Credit Report - there are two distinctive types of credit reports commonly issues by the credit bureaus. One is the standard credit report and another is a credit report that has certain information withheld so that it can be used for employment purposes. The Employment Credit Report reveals the following information:
    • A profile summary showing information such as total number of active lines of credit or accounts, number of delinquent accounts, liens or judgments, etc. While it is important to review the entire report, we typically tell our clients to start with the Profile Summary, which could be considered the "dashboard" of the report. It shows the number of public records an individual has, if any, and reveals monthly payment obligations such as mortgage payments and revolving credit (credit card obligations for example). It also reveals the percentage of revolving credit available to the consumer in relation to the maximum currently available. So if your applicant has a credit line of $5,000 and they have borrowed $2,500 against that line, it will show that they have 50% of their revolving credit available. The summary also shows the number of accounts in good standing and the number of delinquent accounts, both current and in the past.
    • The Public Records section follows the Profile Summary. This will list any existing liens or judgments that have been reported to the credit bureaus, if any. These may include any suits or judgments against a consumer in regards to their failure to make proper payments to a creditor and/or bankruptcies.
    • The next area is the Trades/Account Status report which details the balance for all lines of credit (active and inactive). This may include accounts such as mortgages, car loans, credit cards, bank accounts, etc. The account status descriptions include when the account was opened and closed (if no longer active), a monthly payment history, any existing balance, whether the account is/was considered in good standing, etc.

 

A credit report will not automatically tell an employer that they should or should not hire a candidate. Instead, in simplified terms, it will highlight whether the employee has paid their bills when they said that they would.

 

The most common candidate for a credit report should be someone who is being considered for a position where they will be exposed to financial records, books, etc. and those that will be entrusted with large amounts of money or financial responsibility.  However, with proper consent, employers have the right to evaluate credit reports on any candidate.  How each candidate manages their own personal finances can be an indicator of how responsible they will be in managing a company's assets.  If an employer is considering several candidates with comparable resumes, their credit management skills can be a distinguishing factor.

 

According to an August 2010 survey by the Society of Human Resources Management, 60% of employers make some use of credit background checks for hiring, 47% use credit screening for select candidates, and 13% report using credit checks for ALL job applicants.

 

Licensing Records

A government authority that has some oversight over professional conduct of its licensees will also maintain records regarding the licensee, such as personal information, education, complaints, investigations, and disciplinary actions.

 

Medical, Mental, and Physiological Evaluation and Records

These records are generally not available to consumer reporting agencies, background screening firms, or any other investigators without documented, written consent of the applicant, consumer or employee.

 

Military Records

Although not as common today as it was in the past fifty years, employers frequently requested the specifics of one's military discharge.

 

Social Security Number

A fraudulent SSN may be indicative of identity theft, insufficient citizenship, or concealment of a "past life".  Background screening firms usually perform a Social Security trace to determine where the applicant or employee has lived.

 

Other Interpersonal Interviews

Employers may investigate past employment to verify position and salary information.  More intensive checks can involve interviews with anybody that knew or previously knew the applicant-such as teachers, friends, coworkers, neighbors, and family members; however, extensive hearsay investigations in background checks can expose companies to lawsuits.  Past employment and personal reference verifications are moving toward standardization with most companies in order to avoid expensive litigation.

 

Where Do They Get This Information?  Public Records Pay Sites

Taking advantage of public records availability in the United States (county/federal courts, credit bureaus, state agencies, etc.) a number of Web based companies began purchasing U.S. public records data and selling it online, primarily to assist the general public in locating people.  Many of these sites advertise background research and provide employers and/or landlords with fee-based checks.

 

There has been a growing movement on the web to use advertising-based models to subsidize these checks.  These companies display targeted ads next to the reports delivered to landlords or employers. Some of the reports provided by these pay sites are only expanded versions of a basic people search providing a 20 year history of addresses, phone numbers, marriages and divorces, businesses owned and property ownership. Usually, these sites will also provide a nationwide criminal report for an added charge.

 

Don't We Have Laws Regulating This Information?

Due to the sensitivity of the information contained in consumer reports and certain records, there are a variety of important laws regulating the dissemination and legal use of this information.  Most notably, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) regulates the use of consumer reports (which it defines as information collected and reported by third party agencies) as it pertains to adverse decisions, notification to the applicant, and destruction and safekeeping of records.  If a consumer report is used as a factor in an adverse hiring decision, the applicant must be presented with a "pre-adverse action disclosure," a copy of the FCRA summary of rights, and a "notification of adverse action letter."  Individuals are entitled to know the source of any information used against them including a credit reporting company.  Individuals must also consent in order for the employer to obtain a credit report.

 

Current Controversies

"Employers are coming under increasing scrutiny and are now facing freshly filed lawsuits over credit screenings of job applicants."  The Equal Employment Opportunity commission (EEOC) has "been sending out signals since last year that the practice may violate federal employment discrimination."

  • The EEOC brought a case against Kaplan Higher Education alleging that they have "rejected job applicants based on their credit history" and that this practice has "an unlawful discriminatory impact because of race and is neither job-related nor justified by business necessity."
  • A pending case filed by the EEOC in September 2009 alleges that a Maryland event-planning company's use of credit and criminal background checks discriminated against male candidates and other job seekers based on race and national origin.
  • In a class action filed in November, a Miami woman, was offered a position at the University of Miami School of Medicine as a senior medical bill collector. In her previous job as a medical collector she handled confidential patient information, including credit card numbers and Social Security Numbers. The employer backed out of the offer after it ran a credit check, even though, according to the complaint, that her reports contained no pending delinquencies and only a few prior defaults that the employee had cleared up with lenders.

 

 

TYPICAL BACKGROUND CHECKS BY INDUSTRY

 

TRANSPORTATION INDUSTRY

The transportation industry, be it from trucking to airlines, is a highly regulated industry.  The FAA and DOT have compliance requirements that must be followed.  Accordingly, recommended screening services for an employer in the transportation industry to conduct on a prospective and/or current employee may include:

  • Social Security Number Trace
  • County Criminal Record Search
  • Federal Criminal Record Search
  • National Criminal Record Database Search
  • Motor Vehicle Record
  • DOT Substance Abuse Screening
  • Employment Verifications
  • National Drivers Registry Searches (NDR)
  • FAA Certifications
  • Pilots Records Improvement Act (PRIA) Requests
  • Department of Information Act (FOIA) FAA Requests
  • Education Verifications
  • Military Record Verifications
  • OFAC/Homeland Security Checks

 

HEALTHCARE INDUSTRY

The healthcare industry is one of the most highly regulated in the United States.  Recommended screening services for an employer in the healthcare industry to conduct on a prospective and/or current employee may include:

  • Social Security Number Trace
  • County Criminal Record Search
  • Federal Criminal Record Search
  • National Criminal Record Database Search
  • Sex Offender Registry
  • Education Verifications
  • Employment Verifications
  • Professional License Verification
  • OIG/GSA Sanctions Check
  • Substance Abuse Screening

 

RETAIL INDUSTRY

The two most important employee related concerns in the retail industry are related to employee theft and turnover.  It is thought that by properly screening employees can reduce shrinkage and improve employee retention.  Recommended screening services for an employer in the retail industry to conduct on a prospective and/or current employee may include:

  • Social Security Number Trace
  • County Criminal Record Searches
  • National Criminal Database Searches
  • Pre-Employment Credit Report
  • Sex Offender Registry
  • Employment Verifications
  • Substance Abuse Screening

 

FINANCIAL SERVICES

In the past decade, no industry has been affected more by employment screening regulations that the financial services industry.  The US Patriot Act, Sarbanes Oxley requirements, FDIC guidelines and other impactful government directives require careful attention by those in the industry.  Recommended screening services for an employer in the financial services industry to conduct on a prospective and/or current employee may include:

  • Social Security Number Trace
  • Country Criminal Record Search
  • Federal Criminal Record Search
  • National Criminal Record Database Search
  • Pre-Employment Credit Report
  • Employment Verifications
  • Education Verifications
  • Professional License Verification
  • OFAC
  • Homeland Security check
  • Financial Sanctions Searches
  • Substance Abuse Screening

 

INSURANCE INDUSTRY

The insurance industry has both federal (Insurance Fraud Prevention Act) and State Regulatory Laws which must be complied with.  Recommended screening services for an employer in the insurance industry to conduct on a prospective and/or current employee may include:

  • Social Security Number Trace
  • Country Criminal Record Search
  • Federal Criminal Record Search
  • National Criminal Record Database Search
  • Pre-Employment Credit Report
  • Employment Verifications
  • Education Verifications
  • Professional License Verification
  • Sanctions
  • OFAC
  • Motor Vehicle Records
  • Substance Abuse Screening

 

EDUCATION INDUSTRY

It has been said that properly screening teachers, faculty, janitorial staff, teaching assistants, coaches and other extra-curricular activity staff is vital to maintaining a safe learning environment for all.  Recommended screening services for an employer in the education industry to conduct on a prospective and/or current employee may include:

  • Social Security Number Trace
  • Country Criminal Record Search
  • Federal Criminal Record Search
  • National Criminal Record Database Search
  • Employment Verifications
  • Education Verifications
  • Sex Offender Registry
  • Homeland Security Check
  • Substance Abuse Screening

 

 

TEMPORARY STAFFING INDUSTRY

Temporary staffing companies generally act as a middle man for a hiring company.  However, the people that work for these temporary staffing companies tend to have access to a lot of private information and potential employees.  That being said, recommended screening services for an employer in the temporary staffing industry to conduct on a prospective and/or current employee may include:

  • Social Security Number Trace
  • Country Criminal Record Search
  • National Criminal Record Database Search
  • Substance Abuse Screening
  • Others (it depends on what industry the temporary staffing industry may be placing the employee in)

 

MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY

Two main concerns in the manufacturing industry is maintaining a safe, accident free workplace as well as reducing employee turnover.  Recommended screening services for an employer in the manufacturing industry to conduct on a prospective and/or current employee may include:

  • Social Security Number Trace
  • Country Criminal Record Search
  • National Criminal Record Database Search
  • Substance Abuse Screening
  • Employment Verifications

 

GLOSSARY OF TERMS

Criminal - County/State Records

County Criminal Records Checks consist of an on-site manual search of the superior, upper, lower, and/or municipal court records and are available in each of the nation's counties.  Researchers can look to all 3,500+ county court jurisdictions across the country, and can find out if a subject has a felony, misdemeanor and sometimes infraction filing within the last seven years or longer if the record includes a legally reportable conviction.  Completed reports consist of all available and legally reportable information; typically including date of arrest, date of filing, charges, level of charges, disposition date, final disposition of charges and any applicable sentence or penalty.

A basic criminal records check includes a search for felony and misdemeanor records at the county level, using all names and counties generated through a Social Security Number Trace.

Concerned About Your Wyoming Criminal Record:

Criminal History Checks

1. Can I check to see if I have any criminal arrests or convictions through the Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI)? Yes. Wyoming statutes contain a provision for a voluntary record check which enables any person to obtain a criminal record check on themselves and provide that record to any person they designate. This procedure requires the submission of a State of Wyoming applicant fingerprint card with a preprinted waiver signature section on the reverse side. In addition, the applicant must also submit a fee which is also set by statute.

2. How much does it cost to check for a Wyoming criminal history? For most applicants, the fee is $15 for the state of Wyoming which includes the Western Identification Network criminal history check. If an FBI criminal history check is performed in addition to the state of Wyoming there is an additional fee of $24.00. For persons who are fingerprinted at the Division of Criminal Investigation, or at a local Wyoming law enforcement agency, they may also be charged $5 for the fingerprinting service.

3. Are there different fingerprint fees charged? While most non-criminal justice applicants are charged $15, fingerprint based criminal record checks for qualified volunteers, those where the applicant volunteers in an organization which provide volunteer services to youth or victims of family violence such as big brothers and big sisters and volunteers in safe houses for victims of family violence, are $10. In addition, applicants may be charged a fee of $5 for the fingerprinting service in Wyoming.

4. Payment should be submitted by money order for the total amount of fees and made payable to the: Office of the Attorney General. Cash (exact change) is accepted on a walk-in basis only, not by mail. No personal checks or credit cards are accepted. Please allow for ample time, as requests are processed on a first come basis.

5. How long does it take? Most Wyoming criminal history record checks are generally completed within 10 business days depending on monthly volume. However, if the results of the record check are required by a certain date, you should submit your fingerprint card with signed waiver and fees at least three weeks in advance.

6. What does the criminal history check consist of? Typically it is a check of criminal arrest and conviction records in the State of Wyoming and the Western Identification Network (WIN). Wyoming is a member of the Western Identification Network (WIN) which includes 7 other states: Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. The history check includes all reported felonies, high misdemeanors and other specified misdemeanors. This does not include municipal ordinance violations. If authorized by state law, the check may include federal records maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

7. Can I check to see if my employees have a criminal record? Yes, if the employee consents through the submission of the required fingerprint card, signing and notarization of the waiver section, and the required fees.

8. Why do I have to submit a fingerprint card? All non-criminal justice searches for Wyoming criminal history records are based on positive identification through a fingerprint search. The applicants fingerprint images are compared to fingerprint images in the arrest files at the Division. This insures that any record released by the Division positively matches to the applicant fingerprints submitted, regardless of any name contained on the applicant fingerprint card or in the arrest record.

9. Can't they just check for records by name? A fingerprint card is a more accurate means of checking a record. With name changes and fraudulent identity documents widely available, the fingerprint card is the only sure method of checking for records.

10. Where can I be fingerprinted? Applicants can arrange for fingerprinting at a local law enforcement agency or at the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation in Cheyenne, Wyoming. By making an appointment, the Division will fingerprint applicants on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 8:30AM to 11:00AM. Appointments can be made by calling 307-777-7181. Applicants desiring fingerprinting services from a local law enforcement agency should call the agency to determine what days or times they support fingerprinting services. In addition, an applicant must present a current government issued photo identification card, e.g.. driver license, state identification card or passport, at the time of fingerprinting.

11. Where can a get a state applicant fingerprint card? Upon request, the Division will provide the fingerprint card with preprinted signature waiver section and an instruction sheet. Many local law enforcement agencies make available the state applicant fingerprint cards.

12. Where does the money for fingerprint checks go? All fees submitted to the Division for a State of Wyoming records check are deposited into the State of Wyoming General Fund.

13. Can I get a criminal arrest or conviction record expunged? Under limited circumstances, a person may petition the court to expunge an adult criminal arrest record. The relevant Wyoming statutes are § 7-13-1401 and § 7-13-1501. Expungement of juvenile arrest records fall under Wyoming statute § 14-6-241. Persons interested in expungement of a state of Wyoming arrest record should consult with legal counsel to determine the eligibility of their record to be expunged.

14. Where can I find more information on Wyoming criminal history records? Please refer to Wyoming state statutes 7-19-101 through 7-19-109. The Wyoming Criminal History Record Act rules and regulations can also be viewed by clicking here: Criminal History Record Act

Revised 012110.

 

Criminal - Federal Records

Federal Criminal Court Searches identify criminal activity prosecuted through the federal court system. Criminal activity tried in Federal District Courts typically involves violations of the Constitution or federal law. These crimes may include tax evasion, embezzlement, bank robbery, kidnapping, mail fraud and other federal statute violations.

Federal criminal convictions do not appear in state or county felony and misdemeanor court record searches, therefore a federal district search is imperative if such records are needed. Each state is comprised of federal districts.

There are 94 federal judicial districts, including at least one district in each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Three territories of the United States -- the Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands -- have district courts that hear federal cases.

The United States district courts are the trial courts of the federal court system. Within limits set by Congress and the Constitution, the district courts have jurisdiction to hear nearly all categories of federal cases, including both civil and criminal matters.

 

Criminal - National Records

National Criminal Searches are aggregate databases comprised of millions of records from various sources in the United States. These records are obtained by commercial vendors from several different sources including: County Court Houses, State Departments of Incarcerations, State Record Repositories, Probation Departments, Townships, Sex Offender Registries etc.

This is generally not a primary or only resource for conducting criminal background checks, rather it is used to supplement other criminal records checks.

 

Education Verifications

False information about ones' educational history is the third most common discrepancy uncovered while conducting verifications.  Additionally, the increase in the "diploma mills" has raised concerns for many employers.  The ramifications associated with hiring an individual with a false degree can be very damaging to an organization resulting in a loss of trust, and depending on the job, harm to individuals. 

An Education Verification confirms school(s) attended, diplomas, degrees & certificates awarded, dates of attendance, and additional information as available.

 

Employment Verifications

Some candidates may be less than truthful about their employment history.  Internal research shows this to be the number one discrepancy on resumes and job applications.  Dates of employment, starting and ending positions and salaries, reason for termination, and eligibility for re-hire are examples of the information employers are asked to verify.  It has been said that an Employment Verification can differentiate honest mistakes from truly egregious attempts to further one's career through blatantly inflated claims of salary and responsibility, or even attempts to cover up significant gaps in employment which should otherwise be explained.

 

FAA
Certifications

The FAA has, among others, the following licenses and certifications which is required by some regulations for an employer to have:

  • Airmen Certification
    • Mechanics, Repairman, Parachute Riggers
    • Flight Engineers, Flight Navigators, Aircraft Dispatchers, Control Tower Operators.
  • Medical Certificate
    • FAA Specific
  • Airline Certification
    • Designed by the FAA to ensure that you, the applicant, are able to design, document, implement, and audit safety critical processes that do two things:
      • Comply with regulations and safety standards.
      • Manage hazard-related risks in your operating environment.

 

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) FAA Requests

FOIA requests may be submitted for a wider range of subjects taken from the Accident/Incident/Enforcement data systems, the Service Difficulty Reporting system, or the PTRS tracking system.

 

Military Record Verifications

The Military Record Verification verifies the branch of service, service dates, position and discharge type.

These requests are conducted through the a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. The FOIA website of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, http://www.rcfp.org/foi.html, has detailed information.  When your employer files its FOIA request, they will likely ask for all "publicly releasable" information on the veteran in question.  The center will not release medical, disciplinary and other records under the FOIA.  Your employer may ask you to sign a Form DA-1800, which provides the employer all the records that your could have obtained yourself. 

Don't know what's in your record?  Simply write a letter to the National Personnel Records Center, Army (or Air Force or Navy) Records Center, 9700 Page Avenue, St. Louis MO 63132 (more information is available at http://www.archives.gov/veterans/).   Provide your full name, branch and inclusive dates of service, and service number (for service before 1969) or Social Security number (for service after 1969). During 1969, the armed services made a transition from service numbers to Social Security numbers, so some 1969 records are filed under service numbers and others under Social Security numbers.  When in doubt about what number a serviceman or -woman might have used in this period, provide both.

 

Motor Vehicle Records

Driving records uncover applicants with patterns of irresponsible driving patterns including DUIs, reckless driving, and driving with an invalid license. Driving record reports are recommended on anyone driving a company vehicle, chauffeuring, entertaining clients, running errands, or operating machinery.

Records will highlight driving history over the past 3-7 years and are available in all 50 states and Washington DC. Reports include all personal identifiers as well as offenses and citations.

Commercial Driver's License searches allows employers and their agents to comply with FMCSA requirements by searching within the "Commercial Driver's License Information System" for any prior licenses, current CDL and up to three prior licenses held by the individual.

  • Standard Motor Vehicle Record
  • Commercial Drivers License Information Systems (CDLIS)
  • National Drivers Registry (NDR)
  • Department of Transportation (DOT) Drivers Records

Concerned about what might be on your driving record?

Each state has its own unique way to obtain a copy of your driving record and can usually be found by searching the state's MVD website online. 

Obtaining  a copy of your own driving record in Wyoming:

Fee: $5 (Government agencies are exempt.)

In Person: Appear in person at your Wyoming driver examination station and present your Wyoming driver license or identification card as proof of identification.

By Mail: Send a written request to:  Wyoming Department of Transportation - Driver Services, Driving Records, 5300 Bishop Blvd., Cheyenne, WY 82009-3340. Please allow 7-10 working days to process your request.

Download driving record form (DSFR-11E) OR send a written request which includes your full name, date of birth, Wyoming driver license number or social security number. All requests must include the $5 fee - check or money order payable to WYDOT. Please allow 7-10 working days to process your request.  

 

OFAC/Homeland Security

The Homeland Security Check is designed to cross reference an employee applicant's name against over 90 worldwide known terrorist and fugitive databases that include individuals, organizations and companies considered to be a threat to global and national security. The Homeland Security Check database is updated daily as the various lists are modified.

The data sources can be cross-referenced with the following:

  • Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) List of Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) and Blocked Persons
  • Politically Exposed Persons List
  • FBI Most Wanted Terrorists List
  • FBI Top Ten Most Wanted List
  • U.S. Secret Service Most Wanted Fugitives
  • United Nations Consolidated Sanctions List
  • Interpol Most Wanted List
  • European Union Terrorist List
  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police Most Wanted
  • Australia Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade List
  • Russian Federal Fugitives
  • Scotland Yard's Most Wanted
  • World's Most Wanted Fugitives

According to a study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the following industries are considered to be those most targeted by terrorists:

  • Agriculture and Food
  • Water
  • Public Health and Healthcare
  • Emergency Services
  • Defense Industrial Base
  • Information Technology
  • Telecommunications
  • Energy
  • Transportation Systems
  • Banking and Finance
  • Chemical
  • Postal and Shipping
  • National Monuments and Icons
  • Dams
  • Nuclear Reactors, Materials and Waste
  • Government Facilities

 

Pilots Records Improvement Act Requests

PRIA requires that a hiring air carrier under 14 CFR parts 121 and 135, or a hiring air operator under 14 CFR part 125, request, receive, and evaluate certain information concerning a pilot/applicant's training, experience, qualification, and safety background, before allowing that individual to begin service as a pilot with their company. 

 

Pre-Employment Credit Report

Pre-Employment Credit Reports are provided by one of the three nationwide credit bureaus.  These reports offer insight into the applicant's reliability and a sense of their personal responsibility.  Reports include derogatory credit information, public filings (bankruptcies, liens and judgments), account standing with creditors and previous address history.

Credit reports allow an employer to quickly verify and expand on information you receive from applicants.  They reveal additional information that may require further review of the applicant and their history.  And they provide credit information that would not be shared by applicants but may have an impact on job performance.

 

Professional License Verification

This verifies professional license type, standing, dates, expiration dates and certifications.  Disciplinary actions, suspensions and revocations information may be revealed.

 

Sex Offender Registry

The researcher can check registered sex offender data sources nationwide, such as: Bureaus of Investigation, Departments of Law Enforcement, Departments of Corrections, Departments of Justice, Departments of Public Safety, Sheriff's Departments, State Attorney General's Offices, and State Police. Te results are compiled from violent and sex offender registries in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

 

Social Security Number Trace

This should really be called an "address history search."  This information authenticates that the social security number provided by your applicant is associated with an individual of the same name and the approximate date of issue range aligns with your applicant's birth date. The address history corresponds with the areas of the country where your applicant has lived, worked, attended school, or spent other significant time.

The Social Security Number Trace is a crucial component of criminal history research as the address history is the roadmap used to select court jurisdictions that should be researched for criminal records. Additionally, it will provide any alias names that have been associated with that number. The same courts should be checked under all relevant and/or unique alias names.

Social Security Number Traces are offered through a variety of sources.  The most common sources are the credit bureaus. Companies such as Experian and TransUnion aggregate address and name history by identifying information reported by lending institutions such as banks, credit companies, utilities companies, cable operators, etc.  If you have applied for any type of credit, chances are the credit bureaus will have a record of that.  Of course when you apply for credit, you provide your name, address and social security number.  This information is passed on to the credit bureaus and Voila!  A credit event has been recorded. Another source for traces is through other commercially aggregated databases.  Like all databases, some are better than others.  Some will include aggregate information from credit bureaus as well as additional sources such as magazine subscription databases, customer affinity programs (e.g.. frequent flier accounts), grocery accounts, etc.

 

Substance Abuse Screening

There is no question that employers have a right to have a drug-free workforce.  As parents, we don't want our children to be taught by a drug addict.  As consumers, we don't want to a buy a car equipped with safety features installed by an intoxicated worker, nor do we want to take off in an airplane at a busy airport when the air traffic controller is on a cocaine high.  Because of this, employers may often require their employees to submit to substance abuse testing. 

Although employer-mandated drug screening tests have been found to trump individual privacy concerns, states vary widely on when testing is permitted:

  • Some states permit random testing for sensitive or public safety jobs or employees currently in rehabilitation programs
  • Some states allow permissive or unannounced testing of all employees
  • Some states require the employer to have a reasonable suspicion of drug abuse
  • Some states require a higher probable cause standard for suspecting drug abuse
  • Some states won't permit testing at all unless the employer provides some type of rehabilitation program.

Employee drug testing generally happens during:

  • Applicant testing (the most common form)
  • Random testing (frequently used for safety or security-related jobs)
  • Post-accident testing (to determine whether drugs helped cause the accident)
  • Scheduled testing (during routine physical examinations)
  • Treatment-related testing (to monitor employee efforts to remain drug-free after a treatment referral)

Just as states vary in allowing drug testing, states also vary in what action can be taken against an employee who tests positive for drugs or who refuses to submit to a drug test.

  • Some states permit the employer to take disciplinary actions, including termination, without conducting some method of confirmatory testing
  • Some states require confirmatory testing before disciplinary action can be taken, but the testing may not always be at the employer's expense
  • Some states require that the employee enroll in a rehabilitation program, usually at the employee's expense

Unless you are in a rehabilitation program, federal and state disability and anti-discrimination laws don't provide much protection from disciplinary actions. Further, employees terminated for misconduct because of the use or possession of illegal drugs may lose any right to workers' compensation or unemployment benefits.

Finally, most states allow an employee to sue their employer for money damages or injunctive relief, if he or she is terminated or punished because of the employer's drug testing practices and the practices violate the drug testing statute. Injunctive relief is a court order requiring someone to do or refrain from doing a certain act. Some states will allow you to seek equitable relief such as reinstatement or back pay, and others will allow an award of punitive damages.

Generally, how long do drugs stay in my system and show up on tests: 

Substances

Urine

Hair

Saliva

Amphetamines

1-4 days

up to 90 days

3 days

Cocaine

4-5 days

up to 90 days

1 day

Cannibis (habitual use)

90 days

up to 90 days

14 hrs

Cannibis (single use)

2-3 days

up to 90 days

14 hrs

Opiates

2-4 days

up to 90 days

7-21 hrs

PCP

3-7 days

up to 90 days

3 days

 

 

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Information Compiled from the Following Resources:

EmployeeScreenIQ, http://www.employeescreen.com/about.asp

Federal Aviation Administration, http://www.faa.gov/pilots/lic_cert/pria/

Lawyers.com, http://labor-employment-law.lawyers.com/human-resources-law/Employee-Drug-and-Alcohol-Testing.html

Lawyersusaonline.com, http://lawyersusaonline.com/blog/2011/01/27/employers-face-new-lawsuits-over-popular-job-screening-practice/ (member only site)

National Archives, http://www.archives.gov/veterans/

Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation, http://attorneygeneral.state.wy.us/dci/chc.html

Wyoming Department of Transportation, http://www.dot.state.wy.us/wydot/site/wydot/driving_records

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