How far back can an employer go for a background check when applying for a job?

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How far back can an employer go for a background check when applying for a job?

I was hired about 2 months ago after passing a pre-employment background check and drug test. The company was sold a month later, and I had to go through the process all over again. The new company went back almost 20 years. The most recent thing listed on the background check was from 13 years ago, and I was fired because of it. I want to know if this is legal (how far back can they go and still use it against you).

Asked on November 12, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You may want to check with the Department of Labor or the State Attorney General's office for a definite answer based upon Ohio law (in other words to see IF Ohio has a law on it). But if there is not state law limiting the search, the employer can go back as many years as they want to check on you.  You have a frustrating situation where you were already hired and approved for employment and then fired but I do not think that it is unique.  You did not give any information as to what the charge was but may I suggest that if you can have the arrest and the conviction sealed or expunged (erased) do so.  This wy it will not come back to haunt you again.  Good luck.


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