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Frequently Asked Questions

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While several states mandate data security measures by statute (e.g., Massachusetts, California, Oregon, Maryland, etc.), in late November, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a landmark decision, recognizing for the first time an employer’s affirmative, common law duty to “exercise reasonable care to safeguard their employees’ sensitive personal information by the employer on an internet-accessible system.

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), in most cases an employer cannot ask its employees about their use of prescription medications because 1) taking those medications does not affect job performance, and 2) testing for those medications is not a “business necessity.”

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) states, “An employer may ask a job applicant whether they can perform the job and how they would perform the job. The law allows an employer to condition a job offer on the applicant answering certain medical questions or successfully passing a medical exam, but only if all new employees in the same job have to answer the questions or take the exam.

Once a person is hired and has started work, an employer generally can only ask medical questions or require a medical exam if the employer needs medical documentation to support an employee’s request for an accommodation or if the employer has reason to believe an employee would not be able to perform a job successfully or safely because of a medical condition.”

The law also requires that the employers keep all medical records and information confidential and in separate medical files.

Depending on the depth of the report ordered, a background check can contain criminal history, past address history, motor vehicle report information, employment history, verified education history, sanctions, and much more.

In most cases, no. However, if the employer runs previous employment verifications, such information could be detailed in the report. It also depends on the previous employer’s policy.

A background check or background investigation is the process of looking up and compiling criminal records, commercial records, and financial records of an individual or an organization.

Yes. In most cases, if the court clerk has entered the case into the system then it will show and will be reported.

Yes, if the employer ordering the background check requires it. However, in some cases, applicants may opt-out if they don’t want their current employer to know they are searching for another job.

No, typically expunged records are removed from the court systems. However, if the courts have not updated their records, then the expunged records may still show. If an expunged record shows on an applicant’s report, the applicant may open a dispute. In this case, when the record is expunged, then the background report is updated, the court is notified, and the potential employer is sent an updated report.

A background check will typically only verify the jobs the applicant lists. In some cases, we do developed references and employment verifications which could possibly include this information.

Yes, if an arrest was made and the case has been entered into the judicial system.

Yes, if the warrant has been entered into the system and the county with the outstanding warrant is searched. Most basic National Searches will find pending warrants.

Yes, pending charges appear in a report as soon as the county clerk enters the case into the system.

No, most juvenile records are sealed. Even if the records are revealed the standard is to not report any juvenile cases.

Yes, but only if a previous or current employer is willing to reveal this information. Revealing salary information may be against company policy in some instances.

In many cases, yes. Even if the employer does not order a driving record search, there are many places where this information is reported such as county courts and national databases.

Orders are placed by employers, landlords, or any others who have a specific permissible purpose (end-user). Once the order is placed, all the proper disclosures and releases are signed (usually by electronic means) by the individual the background check is being performed on. This gives the CRA permission to conduct the searches. Once the documentation is received the appropriate sources are searched and reported back to the end-user.

Turnaround times depend on many factors including the type of searches required, the county in which the background is being performed, how the data is stored and retrieved, and more. That said, most backgrounds are completed within 1-2 business days.

Many employers want to protect their organizations from individuals who pose threats to their company. In order to do this, they look into an individual’s history to identify any potential problems that could introduce unnecessary risk. Checking an applicant’s background keeps businesses protected from undue vulnerabilities.

The Americans with Disabilities Act is a federal law that requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified employees with a disability. However, the ADA does not require employers to accommodate illegal drug use. While medical marijuana is legal in many states, it is still illegal under federal law. As a result, employees who use medical marijuana for a disability are likely not entitled to accommodation under the ADA.

Unless restricted by state or federal law, yes. Consumers/applicants are legally entitled to see what is in their report (15 USC § 1681g).

Running a pre-employment background check on any job applicant requires consent, which forms a legally binding contract; however, minors cannot contract because they lack the legal capacity due to age.


Capacity to contract means the legal competence of a person to enter into a valid contract. This means minor consent or the ability for a minor to contract has to come from a parent or legal guardian. Peopletrail can then perform the background, but the majority of criminal records for minors are sealed, with the exception of cases where a minor is tried as an adult.

This sealing of minor records is due to a focus on juvenile rehabilitation, guarding against potentially harmful, life-long labels. The law states: 


“Unless otherwise authorized by this section, information about the juvenile record may not be released when the request for information is related to an application for employment, license, bonding, or any civil right or privilege. Responses to such inquiries shall not be different from responses made about persons who have never been involved in a delinquency proceeding (18 U.S. Code § 5038(a)(6)).”

Disclaimer: Peopletrail and their representatives are not lawyers; nothing in this FAQ/Blog and/or provided by Peopletrail should be deemed as legal guidance or advice. Users are solely responsible for complying with all local, state, and federal laws as they may relate to any information provided on this website. Peopletrail recommends utilization of a competent legal representative for any legal issues.