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Michigan Background Checks

A guide to Michigan background checks

Michigan background checks can play an important role in the hiring process, helping employers gain insight into a candidate’s history, determine eligibility for a role, and make more informed hiring decisions. Employers also use information reported by pre-employment background checks to mitigate risk and create safer work environments. 

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Employers can choose from a wide range of screening options, including criminal history, credit reports, driving records, employment verification, drug screening, and more. But navigating complex federal, state, and local laws can be challenging—especially when employers choose to conduct screenings on their own. This guide will cover how to perform a Michigan background check, what types of reports are available, and the benefits of partnering with a third-party background check provider. 

What Is A Michigan State Background Check?

A Michigan background check searches a range of public records, databases, and other sources to gather and verify information about a job candidate or volunteer. Employers typically use pre-employment background screenings during the hiring process to confirm a candidate’s qualifications and eligibility for the role, but may also conduct routine background screenings for current employees.  

Why Employers Need to Run MI Background Checks

Employers generally run MI background checks before hiring a candidate to verify information provided on a resume or job application, like employment and education history. Hiring managers may also use certain types of background screenings, such as criminal record screenings and motor vehicle record reports, to help promote workplace and public safety and reduce organizational risk. 

In some cases when hiring in the state of Michigan, background checks may be mandated by law within specific industries or for certain types of employment. For example, in Michigan, positions that work with vulnerable populations like children and the elders, are subject to a Workforce Background Check by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. 

What Information Shows up on a Background Check in Michigan?

Employment background checks in Michigan can show a wide range of information about a candidate, depending on the types of screenings ordered. For example, employers commonly conduct a Michigan criminal background check. 

Here is a closer look at what shows up on some common type of pre-employment checks:

  • Criminal background checks show information about a candidate’s criminal history, including misdemeanor and felony convictions, arrest records, and pending criminal charges.
  • Employment verification confirms a candidate’s past employers, positions held, and employment dates. 
  • Education verification confirms a candidate’s academic enrollment, dates of attendance, and degrees earned. 
  • Driving record checks show a candidate’s driving history, including license status, moving violations, accidents, or vehicle-related crimes like DUIs. 
  • Credit checks show a candidate’s credit history, including accounts in collection and bankruptcies. 
  • Civil court records show a candidate’s history of lawsuits, judgments, liens, and similar civil records.
  • Drug testing screens a candidate for use of controlled substances, including prescription and illicit drugs.

How Far Back Do Employment Background Checks Go in Michigan?

How far an employment background check in Michigan can go depends on who is conducting the search, the type of checks being conducted, and the scope of the background screening. Although some states limit the lookback period for employment background checks to seven years, the state of Michigan does not. However, several factors may impact how far back results may appear, including state and federal laws.

Although criminal convictions may stay on a candidate’s criminal record in Michigan indefinitely, a series of “Clean Slate” bills (see below) limit how employers access certain Michigan criminal history.

When employers work with a CRA to conduct Michigan background checks, you must also comply with the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The FCRA limits the lookback period for some elements of a background check to seven years for positions with an annual salary of less than $75,000—including arrests, civil judgments, tax liens, and accounts in collection. Criminal convictions may be reported indefinitely, and bankruptcies may be reported for up to ten years. The FCRA does not impose a time limit on employment or education verification; employers (and CRAs) may search back as far as necessary to verify this information.

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How Long Does A Background Check Take In Michigan?

Turnaround times for Michigan background checks vary from just a few minutes to a few weeks, depending on the type of records needed, the scope of the search, and whether the search is being conducted by an employer or third party background check provider, like GoodHire. Database searches, like national criminal records or sex offender registry searches, may be returned quickly, while non-digitized county criminal records may cause Michigan background check delays.

To speed the turnaround times and streamline the process, many employers choose to work with a background check provider. GoodHire’s modern platform reduces manual processes to deliver faster, more accurate background checks so you can hire and onboard candidates efficiently. 

How To Get A Background Check In Michigan

Michigan employers can choose to perform background checks themselves or work with a qualified CRA, like GoodHire. While it may be possible to conduct certain types of Michigan background checks online, many types of screenings require reports to be ordered by mail or in person. In some cases, employers may need to make phone calls to confirm information like professional references. Manual background checks can put added burden on hiring managers and human resources teams. 

For example, employers can research Michigan criminal records by conducting a name-based criminal history search online through Michigan’s Internet Criminal History Access Tool (ICHAT), a database maintained by the Michigan State Police’s Criminal Justice Information Center

While you may be able to perform some candidate background checks yourself, many employers choose to outsource these services to a consumer reporting agency instead. Working with a CRA, like GoodHire, streamlines the process and saves you time by providing a single source for criminal and civil court checks, credit histories, motor vehicle records, and more. 

How Much Does A Background Check Cost In Michigan?

The cost of a background check in Michigan varies depending on who is conducting the search, search volume, and the scope of the search. For example, a Michigan ICHAT criminal record search costs $10 per search, while a federal criminal record check through the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) costs $18. 

Partnering with a trusted CRA, like GoodHire, may be a more cost-effective way to conduct pre-employment background checks. With GoodHire, now a Checkr company, employers can choose from customizable and comprehensive background check packages starting at $29.99.

Michigan Background Check Laws And Requirements

When conducting pre-employment screenings Michigan employers are required to comply with all federal, state, and local laws . This includes regulations designed to protect a candidate’s criminal history, certain types of personal information, and fair hiring laws. Employers that are unsure of which Michigan background check requirements may apply, may want to consider consulting with counsel. 

Here’s a closer look at some of the key Michigan employment background check laws: 


Executive Directive 2018-4, a statewide ban-the-box law, applies to criminal background checks for public sector employers. Employers are prohibited from asking about a candidate’s criminal history until after an initial interview or conditional offer of employment. During the initial application process, employers are however, allowed to ask for affirmation of good character.

Clean slate bills

In 2021, Michigan passed a series of statewide bills that begin to limit how employers can access certain criminal records. This law was implemented in 2023 and background checks may or may not show criminal information, as follows:

  • House Bills 4219 and 4220 make some convictions for first violations of operating while intoxicated eligible to be set aside.
  • Package of House Bills automatically seal certain non-violent convictions from a person’s public criminal record if they have remained free of convictions for seven years in the case of misdemeanors and 10 years for felonies.
  • Public Act 362 seals juvenile court records from public view.
  • Public Act 361 amended Michigan’s set aside process for juvenile records, allowing the filing of an application for set aside of a juvenile adjudication one year after termination of court jurisdiction over the person. In addition, this bill created a process to automatically set aside juvenile records.

Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act

With the exception of law enforcement agencies and political subdivisions of the state, Michigan employers cannot ask candidates about or gather information related to misdemeanor arrests, detentions, or dispositions not resulting in convictions. The rule does not apply to felonies or misdemeanor convictions. 

Date of Birth Redaction

Under the Rules of Court, Rule 1.109, the state of Michigan restricts the use of personally identifying information on court records in an effort to protect privacy. However, the Michigan State Court Administrative Offer created a Consent Verification Registration system to approve “authorized individuals” who provide written consent for another person or agency to access identifiers such as DOB in court records.

Salary History

Executive Directive 2019-10 is a statewide law that helps protect a candidate’s salary history. Under this law, employers are prohibited from asking a candidate about past salary history or conducting any type of database search for salary information.Compensation information may be requested or verified prior to a conditional job offer being made if the candidate has provided the information voluntarily or if the information is required by law.

Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

Employers that choose to partner with a CRA to conduct Michigan background checks are required to comply with the FCRA. Under the FCRA, employers must provide written disclosure to the candidate of your intent to conduct a background check and obtain written consent before beginning the screening. Should a decision be made not to hire a candidate based on information reported in the background check, employers must also follow the adverse action process. 

County Resources

Ban the box at the county level is complex in Michigan after a statewide “ban” on “Ban-the-box” laws. While this law (2018 Michigan Senate Bill 0353) sought to create a uniform system, counties have pushed back against the ordinance citing discrimination. Consulting with your legal counsel in this instance is strongly recommended. 

The following resources may be useful for organizations conducting background checks in Michigan’s largest counties.

Clinton County

The population of this southern Michigan county is nearly 80,000. Its most populous city is the county seat, St. Johns, but Clinton County also includes parts of two larger cities, Lansing and East Lansing. St. Johns and its surrounding area began farming mint during the early 20th century for use in medicines and Wrigley chewing gum and now celebrates its heritage as “The Mint Capital of the World.”

Public Information & Records:

A ban-the-box law applies to city employers in East Lansing.

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Genesee County

Genesee County’s population center is Flint, the birthplace of General Motors as well as the United Auto Workers union. The county’s population is 406,211, making it the fifth most populated county in Michigan. Flint is home of the Alfred P. Sloan Museum, Flint Institute of Arts, and Flint Jazz Festival.

Public Information & Records:

A ban-the-box law applies to county employers.

Ingham County

Ingham County, population 284,900, is home to Michigan’s state capital, Lansing, and Michigan State University, located in East Lansing. Lansing calls itself “America’s Best Big Small City” and one of its suburbs, Okemos, was named the sixth best place to live in the US by

Public Information & Records:

A ban-the-box law applies to city employers in East Lansing.

Kalamazoo County

Kalamazoo is the largest city and county seat of Kalamazoo County, with a population of 261,670. The cities Highland Park and Pavilion Township also fall within Kalamazoo County. Kalamazoo is the home of Western Michigan University and the headquarters of medical technology company Stryker. 

Public Information & Records:

A ban-the-box law applies to city employers and vendors with tax abatements, Economic Opportunity Fund loans, and/or contracts for $25,000 or more in the city of Kalamazoo.

Kent County

Kent County is part of the greater Grand Rapids metropolitan area and is considered West Michigan’s economic and manufacturing center. With a population of 657,974, Kent County is Michigan’s fourth most populous county. Its most populous cities are Grand Rapids with just over 200,000 residents, followed by Wyoming, Forest Hills and Walker. 

Public Information & Records:

A ban-the-box law applies to all public and private sector employers in Grand Rapids.

Muskegon County

Part of the greater Grand Rapids area, Muskegon County (population 175,824) is strategically located on the western shore of Lake Michigan. Historically, Muskegon County and its largest city, Muskegon, grew as the result of logging and shipping, and later manufacturing to supply the state’s auto industry. Its second largest city is Norton Shores.

Public Information & Records:

A ban-the-box law applies to county employers.

Oakland County

Oakland is the second most populous county in Michigan, with a population of 1.2 million that includes its largest cities, Troy, Farmington Hills, Rochester Hills, Southfield, and Royal Oak. Oakland County is headquarters to Automation Alley, a World Economic Forum Advanced Manufacturing Hub for North America and Industry 4.0 knowledge center promoting innovation and public-private partnership.

Public Information & Records:

A ban-the-box law applies to county employers.

Washtenaw County

Home to Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan, Washtenaw County counts a significant number of college students among its 372,258 residents. In addition to U-M, Eastern Michigan University, Washtenaw Community College, and Concordia University Ann Arbor are all located here. The county seat is Ann Arbor, which is the county’s largest city, followed by Ypsilanti. 

Public Information & Records:

A ban-the-box law applies to city employers in Ann Arbor.
A local nondiscrimination ordinance applies to public and private sector employers in Ypsilanti.

Wayne County

The most populous county in Michigan with nearly 1.8 million residents, Wayne County is home to some of the state’s largest cities: Detroit, Dearborn, Livonia, and Canton. The Detroit area’s long history as an epicenter of American car manufacturing continues with Ford Motor Company’s headquarters in Dearborn. Wayne County is also the most diverse in the state.

Public Information & Records:

A ban-the-box law applies to city employers in Detroit.

Get A Michigan Background Check With GoodHire

Employers looking to conduct background checks for job candidates can streamline their efforts and receive fast, accurate, compliant results working with GoodHire. GoodHire offers 100+ screening options for employers, using an easy-to-use online platform with automated workflows, making the process easy to navigate from start to finish. Get started with a Michigan background check. 

Get A Michigan Background Check Today

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The resources provided here are for educational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. We advise you to consult your own counsel if you have legal questions related to your specific practices and compliance with applicable laws.