Pennsylvania Background Check Laws
What are Pennsylvania background check and ban-the-box laws?
We update this overview of Pennsylvania background check laws and ban-the-box rules often. But laws change quickly, and we cannot guarantee all information is current. Always consult your attorney for legal advice.
- District Laws
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Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
In order to set a standard for hiring policies, the federal government created the Fair Credit Reporting Act, or FCRA, which monitors and protects both employers and job candidates.
Our Take: Employers may only consider felony and misdemeanor convictions when using an applicant’s criminal history to inform an employment decision. Under 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. 9125, summary offenses should not be considered.
Our Take: Philadelphia Employers may not inquire into credit history when making an employment decision, unless the position falls under an exception listed under Philadelphia’s Fair Practices Ordinance. If an exception applies and an employer wishes to take adverse action on the basis of an employee or applicant’s credit history, employers must: (a) identify the particular information upon which the decision was based and (b) give the employee or applicant an opportunity to explain the circumstances surrounding the information before taking adverse action.
BAN-THE-BOX AND FAIR HIRING LAWS
STATE LAWS — PUBLIC SECTOR
Who must follow: This ban-the-box policy applies only to public sector employers for the State of Pennsylvania that are hiring for non-civil service positions falling under the governor’s jurisdiction.
Timing of inquiry: Public sector employers for the state of Pennsylvania may not inquire into criminal history on the job application.
Adverse action implications:
- Individualized assessment: This location requires an individualized assessment be performed prior to final adverse action.
- Consideration of records: Employers should only consider pending cases and felony and misdemeanor convictions. Non-convictions should not be used in the hiring decision, nor should Summary Offenses.
PENNSYLVANIA STATE LAW 18 PA. C.S. 9125
Who must follow: This law applies to all employers in Pennsylvania, both public and private.
Adverse action implications:
- Individualized assessment: All employers in Pennsylvania must assess whether convictions relate to the applicant’s suitability for employment in the position for which the applicant has applied.
- Consideration of records: Employers should only consider felony and misdemeanor convictions. Non-convictions should not be used in the hiring process, nor should summary offenses.
LOCAL LAWS — PUBLIC AND PRIVATE COMPANIES
See which Pennsylvania counties and cities have local ban-the-box and fair hiring laws.