Last updated: November 27, 2023
They say that if you’re looking for a job in a field that doesn’t do background checks as a norm, you should get a job in customer service or check out the food service industry. According to a national survey distributed by HR.com, 96% of employers do some type of background check. And, of that number, 27% are performing a Level 2 background check.
For the most part, a normal background check consists of following up on employment credentials and education. Driving records are normally included as well.
What is a Level 2 background check?
These types of background searches require a set of fingerprints. It gives employers the ability to take a deep dive and discover more information than a name-based search alone. Statistics found in the above survey include the fact that 11% of employers require all job candidates to be fingerprinted for a background search. Another sixteen percent require some candidates to complete a fingerprint background screening, which is usually based on position.
The search is completed by searching the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) databases. It’s an in-depth search, so looks at both state and national registries. At the moment, the state of Florida is the only one to officially require that Level 2 background checks be done when people work with vulnerable groups, such as minors, the elderly, and patients. The mandate, as defined in Chapter 435 or the Florida Statutes, also requires background screenings on anyone working in certain high-responsibility positions.
Employers across the nation can require a fingerprint background screen as long as it’s documented in the company’s policies and procedures. Many use Florida’s law as a guideline for writing their own policies and procedures. The intent of the search is to discover any offense related to hurting a vulnerable person.
What shows up?
Felony convictions, including crimes such as kidnapping, manslaughter, trafficking, and patient abuse, are reported. Warrants aren’t though because even if one has been executed, it is not a part of someone’s criminal record. Other arrests may show up as well. It depends on the background screening service that is used. Some omit this information to ensure equal employment opportunities.
Misdemeanor convictions are still convictions and are most always reported on a Level 2 background check. Pending charges show up on background checks too—in all but two states. Kansas does not allow this type of reporting and in Michigan, only pending felonies are shown.
Drug screening isn’t normally included as part of a Level 2 background check, but, it’s at the employer’s discretion. Some may request that it be done.
How far back does a Level 2 background check go?
There’s no set limit on how far back a search can go when looking for convictions. Still, there are some restrictions that apply.
Exemptions can block the following information from being reported:
- Felony convictions automatically show up, however, three years after a person has served their sentence, they can apply for an exemption. Once that is done, the conviction is no longer considered a disqualifying offense.
- Crimes that were once felonies but are now classed as misdemeanors may not be reported.
- Delinquency charges which would be classified as a felony if committed by an adult aren’t admissible.
- Completed misdemeanor charges can’t be included either.
The Level 2 takeaway
In short, the Level 2 background check yields a fingerprint-based report on a person’s criminal history. It can include employment history as well. These all-inclusive reports are extremely beneficial for employers when weeding out the riff-raff.
Florida was the first state in the nation to actually get a law on the books in regard to Level 2 background checks. It’s for that reason that many look to the sunshine state as an example when drawing up their company’s hiring procedures.