Background checks are a crucial part of the hiring process. They help employers make informed decisions and ensure a safe workplace. In Texas, specific laws and regulations govern these checks, making it essential for employers to understand the requirements and best practices.

This guide covers everything you need to know about Texas background checks for employers. We’ll explore why background checks matter, understand Texas laws, discuss the types of checks available, and provide a step-by-step process for conducting them. Additionally, we’ll share best practices and answer common FAQs.

By the end of this guide, you’ll be well-equipped to navigate the complexities of background checks in Texas, ensuring compliance and making sound hiring decisions.

Texas employment background checls

Why Background Checks Matter for Texas Employers

Risk Mitigation

Background checks play a vital role in mitigating risks associated with negligent hiring. Employers are responsible for ensuring their workplace is safe and secure. Hiring someone with a history of violent behavior, theft, or other criminal activities without proper screening can lead to significant legal and financial consequences.

Safe and Secure Workplace

Maintaining a safe and secure workplace is paramount. Background checks help employers identify potential red flags that could jeopardize workplace safety. By thoroughly vetting candidates, employers can prevent incidents that could harm employees and damage the company’s reputation.

Failing to conduct thorough background checks can result in legal implications. If an employee causes harm and it’s found that proper background checks were not conducted, employers can face negligent hiring lawsuits. Employers can avoid such legal issues by performing due diligence and complying with relevant laws and regulations.

Understanding Texas Laws and Regulations

Federal Laws

Several federal laws, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), impact background checks. The FCRA ensures the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of information used in consumer reports. Employers must comply with FCRA requirements when conducting background checks, including obtaining written consent and providing specific disclosures and notices.

Texas-Specific Laws

Texas Labor Code Chapter 22

The Texas Labor Code Chapter 22 prohibits employers from obtaining or using certain types of information in employment decisions. This includes genetic information and certain health-related data. Employers must be aware of these restrictions to avoid legal pitfalls.

Texas Occupations Code

The Texas Occupations Code regulates various professional licenses and certifications. Employers must verify the licenses of applicants for specific occupations, ensuring they meet the necessary qualifications and have no disciplinary actions against them.

Texas Business & Commerce Code

The Texas Business & Commerce Code includes provisions related to protecting personal information. Employers must ensure that the data they collect and store during background checks is secure and confidential, complying with state data protection laws.

Ban the Box Law

Texas has a “Ban the Box” law prohibits employers from asking about criminal history on initial job applications. This law aims to provide fairer opportunities for individuals with criminal records by allowing them to be judged based on their qualifications first. Employers can inquire about criminal history later in the hiring process, ensuring compliance with this regulation.

Types of Background Checks Available in Texas

Criminal Background Checks

  • State and National Criminal Searches: Criminal background checks are essential for identifying past criminal behavior. Employers can conduct state and national criminal searches to view an applicant’s criminal history comprehensively. State searches provide records within Texas, while national searches cover a broader scope, including federal and out-of-state records.
  • Fingerprint-Based Checks: Fingerprint-based checks are more accurate and reliable than name-based checks. They involve cross-referencing an applicant’s fingerprints with state and federal databases. This method helps eliminate false positives and correctly identifies any criminal records.
  • County-Level Records: Checking county-level records is crucial for thorough background screening. These records often contain the most up-to-date and detailed information about an individual’s criminal history within specific counties in Texas. Employers should not overlook this critical step.

Credit Reports

Credit reports can provide insight into an applicant’s financial responsibility. In Texas, employers can request credit reports for positions that involve financial responsibilities. However, they must comply with the FCRA and ensure the information is relevant to the job.

Employment Verification

Verifying an applicant’s employment history helps confirm their qualifications and experience. Employers should contact previous employers to verify job titles, dates of employment, and job performance. This step ensures the accuracy of the information provided by the applicant.

Education Verification

Education verification is essential for positions that require specific degrees or certifications. Employers should contact educational institutions to confirm the applicant’s academic credentials. This verification helps prevent fraudulent claims and ensures the applicant is qualified for the position.

Reference Checks

Reference checks provide additional insight into an applicant’s work ethic and character. Employers should contact professional references to gather information about the applicant’s job performance, strengths, and areas for improvement. Handling reference checks carefully and ensuring they are conducted legally and respectfully.

Other Checks

  • Driving Records: Checking an applicant’s driving record is crucial for positions involving driving. This check provides information about traffic violations, accidents, or license suspensions. Employers can ensure the applicant is a safe and reliable driver.
  • Professional License Verification: For certain professions, verifying professional licenses is mandatory. Employers should check with the relevant licensing boards to confirm the applicant’s credentials and ensure there are no disciplinary actions against them. This verification helps maintain professional standards and compliance with regulatory requirements.

The Process of Conducting Background Checks

Before conducting a background check, employers must obtain written consent from the applicant. This consent should clearly explain the background check process and what information will be collected. Ensuring transparency with the applicant is crucial for compliance and trust.

Choosing a Reputable Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA)

Selecting a reputable Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) is vital for accurate and reliable background checks. Employers should research and choose a CRA that complies with FCRA requirements and has a track record of providing comprehensive and precise reports.

Providing Pre-Adverse and Adverse Action Notices

If an employer decides to take adverse action based on the background check results, they must provide the applicant with pre-adverse and adverse action notices. The pre-adverse action notice should include a copy of the background check report and a summary of rights under the FCRA. This allows the applicant to review the information and dispute any inaccuracies. After considering any disputes, the employer can provide the final adverse action notice if they still decide not to hire the applicant.

Compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

Throughout the background check process, employers must comply with the FCRA. This includes providing proper disclosures, obtaining written consent, using the information for permissible purposes, and handling disputes appropriately. Failing to comply with the FCRA can result in legal penalties and damages.

Best Practices for Texas Employers

Develop a Clear and Consistent Background Check Policy

Employers should develop a clear and consistent background check policy that outlines the types of checks conducted, the information collected, and how the information will be used. This policy should be communicated to all applicants and employees to ensure transparency and compliance.

Focus on Job-Relatedness

When evaluating background information, employers should focus on the job-relatedness of any findings. This means considering whether the information is relevant to the position and whether it impacts the applicant’s ability to perform the job. This approach helps avoid discrimination and ensures fair hiring practices.

Avoid Discriminatory Practices

Employers must treat all applicants fairly and avoid discriminatory practices during the background check process. This includes ensuring all applicants’ background checks are conducted consistently and making decisions based on relevant and job-related information.

Ensure Data Security and Confidentiality

Protecting the data collected during background checks is crucial. Employers must ensure that personal information is stored securely and accessed only by authorized personnel. This helps maintain confidentiality and compliance with data protection laws.

FAQs About Texas Background Checks

How far back do background checks go?

The look-back period for background checks can vary based on the type of check and state regulations. In Texas, criminal background checks typically cover the past seven years, although certain checks may go further depending on the job’s nature and the information required.

How should employers handle discrepancies in reports?

If discrepancies are found in a background check report, employers should allow the applicant to explain and resolve the discrepancies. This may involve verifying additional information or conducting further investigations. Employers should follow FCRA guidelines for handling disputes and ensure a fair and transparent process.

What rights do applicants have under the FCRA?

Under the FCRA, applicants have several rights, including the right to be informed that a background check is being conducted, the right to consent to the check, the right to review and dispute the information in the report, and the right to be informed if adverse action is taken based on the report. Employers must ensure these rights are upheld throughout the background check process.


Conducting thorough background checks is essential for Texas employers to make informed hiring decisions and maintain a safe workplace. By understanding and complying with relevant laws and regulations, developing clear policies, and following best practices, employers can navigate the complexities of background checks effectively.

Staying informed about legal updates and best practices is crucial for ensuring compliance and avoiding legal pitfalls. Employers should consider consulting with legal professionals to ensure their background check processes are robust and compliant.

For more information or assistance with background checks, consider using GCheck, a leading provider of employment background check services. GCheck can help you streamline the process, ensure compliance with Texas laws, and provide accurate and comprehensive reports.