Massachusetts Background Checks

Health Street’s comprehensive range of criminal background checks in Massachusetts offers employers a thorough, accurate and affordable look at a job applicant’s records. Whether you’re looking for a basic criminal database search or an in-depth dive into court records, employment history, education degrees, credentials, references and more, Health Street’s Massachusetts background checks get you exactly what you need to know to protect your staff, business and yourself. Background checks in Massachusetts from Health Street are guaranteed to be accurate, legal and timely.

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What Massachusetts Background Checks can I order through Health Street?

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Why Health Street for Massachusetts Background Checks?

Criminal background checks in Massachusetts must be done by the law. If you’re an employer in need of a background check in Massachusetts, it’s important to research which background check companies you can trust. Employers can easily get misled into using seemingly simple online background check websites, which can lead to serious legal trouble.

Even if you do everything right, pick your background check company (also known as a Credit Reporting Agency or “CRA”) carefully, there are plenty of consumer reporting agencies that perform lazy searches of what you could find yourself. A CRA’s role includes far more than clicking onto a public record database on your behalf. If you don’t have a reputable CRA, you can easily end up either:

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Not uncovering a past criminal record.
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Revealing excess information that cannot, by employment law, be factored into the hiring process.

If you receive information from your CRA that you are not permitted to include in your hiring decision, you can run afoul of laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). For that reason and more, it’s critically important to work with a CRA that understands the laws regarding background checks in Massachusetts. Health Street knows and complies with all Massachusetts background check laws and knows the nuances of the Fair Credit Reporting Act so you don’t have to.

Massachusetts Laws Regarding Criminal Records

In Massachusetts, any employer who does more than five background checks per year is required by law to have a written “criminal record information policy” in place. They must also provide a copy of this policy to any applicant who requests it. This applies to both credit checks and criminal background checks.

The state also has a “ban the box” policy. This makes it illegal for employers to ask about an applicant’s criminal record on the initial application. If the employer asks about criminal records during future interactions (ex. during an interview) they may not ask about:

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Arrests that didn’t lead to a conviction
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First-time convictions for offenses including simple assault, drunkenness, speeding, disturbing the peace, or minor traffic violations
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Misdemeanor convictions more than 5 years old (unless the applicant has another conviction that occurred within the past 5 years)

Before asking about criminal history, the employer must also:

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Provide a copy of the written criminal record information policy
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Inform the applicant that they don’t have to disclose a record that’s been sealed

If the employer decides not to offer the applicant a job or takes any other adverse actions based on the results of the background check, they must provide the applicant with a copy of the background check results that led to this decision.

Credit Report Background Checks

Depending on the industry, some employers are equally concerned with an applicant’s credit. Applicants are protected under state laws that prohibit credit reporting agencies from reporting bankruptcies that have a date of judgment that is more than 14 years old and criminal records that are more than 7 years old.

If an employer decides not to hire the applicant or takes any other adverse actions based on the credit report, they must notify the applicant of the decision within 10 days. This notification must be written in 10-point or larger font and include the credit reporting agency’s name, address, and toll-free phone number. It must also include language that informs the applicants of his or her rights regarding the credit report.

Pay Equity Rules

In an effort to further pay equality, the state of Massachusetts also prohibits screening job applicants based on their prior salary, wages, or benefits. Employers may not require applicants to disclose their salary, wage, or benefit history as a condition of being hired or being considered for an offer of employment. There are some exceptions to this rule, but they are rare.

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Citations

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“Massachusetts Background Check Laws.” GoodHire, https://www.goodhire.com/background-check-laws/massachusetts/
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“Chapter 177: An Act to Establish Pay Equity.” The General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, https://malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2016/Chapter177
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“Massachusetts Law on Employer Use of Arrest and Conviction Records.” NOLO, https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/massachusetts-law-employer-use-arrest-conviction-records.html