California Background Search – 5 Essential Facts

 Whether you are hired or promoted for a job in “The Golden State” may largely depend on the information revealed in your California Background Search. Job applicants, existing employees as well as volunteers may be asked to agree to a California Background Search, while for some jobs pre-employment screening is required by federal or state law. Given the current emphasis on safety and security, the number of California Background Searchs conducted has increased dramatically. In short, employers are being cautious.

  However, employees and applicants fear that

employers can ask for a California Background Search

and dig into their past for reasons that have nothing to do with their job. There are a few essential things, though, which will help you prepare for a California Background Search. Here they are:

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1. Arrest records cannot be searched during the California Background Search

of a potential employee. Although arrest record information is publicly available, when performing a California Background Search employers are forbidden to seek the arrest record of an applicant from any. However, if the California Background Search shows that the arrest was followed by a conviction or if the applicant has a pending trial, that information can be used. An exception regarding California Background Searchs exists for the healthcare industry, where the employer can ask about sex related arrests if the candidate applies for a job with access to patients.

2. Medical information and workers’ compensation claims cannot be accessed during a California Background Search.

Under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, an employer may not use medical information or the fact that a candidate filed a workers’ compensation claim to screen the applicants. However, employers may gain access to workers’ compensation records if they choose to do a California Background Search after making an offer of employment.

 3. Education records are confidential in a California Background Search.

Both state and federal law say that transcripts, discipline records, recommendations, and financial information are confidential, therefore cannot be accessed during a California Background Search. Therefore, a school cannot release student records without the written consent of the adult-age student or parent. However, school may release “directory information” for California Background Searchs, such as name, address, degrees earned, dates of attendance, and activities.

 4. Military service records are confidential in a California Background Search.


Under the federal Privacy Act, military service records cannot be freely accessed during a California Background Search. They can only be released under limited circumstances, if the subject of the California Background Search has given their prior consent.  However, the military agency can release date, rank, duty assignments, awards, salary, and duty status for a California Background Search without the authorization of the subject.

 5. Criminal histories are not public records. When conducting a

California Background Search, the “rap sheets” compiled by law enforcement cannot be accessed.

Only certain employers such as security guard firms, law enforcement agencies, child care facilities, and public utilities have access to this information during a California Background Search. However, with the advent of computerized court record databases, there are private companies such as which compile virtual criminal histories and make California Background Searchs a lot easier.

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