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State LawsMinnesota

Minnesota Background Checks

A guide to Minnesota background checks

Minnesota background checks are a valuable tool employers may use during the hiring process for more informed employment decisions. Background screenings help confirm information about a candidate, provide insight beyond a job application or interview, create a safer work environment, minimize organizational risk, and more.

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Employers that use background checks as part of their screening process must comply with local, state, and federal laws and regulations. But staying current on all the rules governing pre-employment screenings can be complex. Here’s what employers should know about conducting background checks in Minnesota.

What Is A Minnesota Background Check?

A Minnesota background check is a review of a candidate’s history that helps employers determine whether a person is qualified for a role and would be a good fit for their organization. Pre-employment screenings may include a search of public records, databases, and other sources. The information that appears varies based on the scope of the screening and whether the search is being conducted by the employer or through a third-party provider. Screenings often include a candidate’s criminal history, previous employers, educational background, driving record, and more.

While many credentialed employers may conduct a pre-employment background check, some organizations, including those that hire firefighters, police officers and private security officers, are required to do so by law. Under Minnesota statute 123B.03, school employees who work with children are also required to undergo a background check. 

Additionally, the Serve America Act requires organizations in all states, including Minnesota, that receive grants funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service to conduct specific searches. Organizations must complete state and federal criminal history checks and search the National Sex Offender Registry for employees who work with vulnerable individuals, including the elderly, people with disabilities, and children.

Whether required by law or not, background checks can help employers maintain a safe work environment and reduce their liability risk. An employer can conduct pre-employment screenings independently or work with a consumer reporting agency (CRA), like GoodHire, to streamline the process.

What Shows Up On A Minnesota Background Check?

What shows up on a Minnesota background check varies based on the screenings included, the role in question, and the company’s background check policy. Here are some common pre-employment screenings Minnesota employers may conduct to gather additional information about a candidate.

  • A criminal background check to review a candidate’s criminal history, including arrest records, misdemeanor and felony convictions, and pending criminal cases.
  • Civil court checks to search federal, upper, and lower civil court records for lawsuits, liens, judgments, restraining orders, and more.
  • Credit checks to review information in a candidate’s credit history, including accounts sent to collections, bankruptcies, foreclosures, account payment history, and applications for credit. This type of search may be most relevant to positions with access to sensitive financial information.
  • Driving record checks to search state motor vehicle records for information about a candidate’s license status and driving-related violations. This type of background screening is commonly used for roles that include driving a vehicle or operating heavy machinery.
  • Employment verification to confirm that a candidate’s work history, including previous employers, dates of employment, and positions held, is accurate.
  • Education verification to validate educational institutions, dates of attendance, and degrees and certifications earned.
  • Minnesota Predatory Offender Registration Check to search the state database of predatory offenders, particularly for jobs involving work with children, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
  • Drug testing to determine current and past use of alcohol, illegal drugs, and controlled substances.

Potential Disqualifications For Employment

Some offenses may prevent candidates from being hired for certain roles. For example, candidates applying for teaching positions are automatically disqualified if they’ve been convicted of a sex offense. Those applying for certain jobs in healthcare and human service settings within the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) may be disqualified if they’ve been convicted for offenses that would put the people they serve at risk. Disqualifications for DHS jobs may be permanent or temporary, depending on the severity of the crime. Candidates have the right to appeal a disqualification if the information is inaccurate or they wouldn’t jeopardize the health or safety of the people in their care.

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Minnesota Background Check Laws

Minnesota employers must comply with federal, state, and local laws and regulations that govern the background check process. Below is an overview of statewide laws that apply to Minnesota employers and how they may impact your hiring practices.


Minnesota has a statewide ban-the-box law that affects many public and private sector employers conducting state of Minnesota criminal background checks. Under the law, an employer cannot ask about a candidate’s criminal history on a job application. They must wait until the candidate is selected for an interview or receives a conditional offer of employment—if no interview is required.

The law also limits the criminal records employers may consider when making an employment decision. They may not consider:

  • Arrest records that did not result in a conviction
  • Annulled or expunged convictions
  • Misdemeanor convictions for which no jail time was imposed

Minnesota also expands upon the adverse action requirements at the federal level with additional provisions if a public-sector employer withdraws an employment offer because of information that appears on a background check. The employer must notify the candidate in writing with the following information:

  • The reasons for denial
  • How the candidate may file a complaint or grievance
  • The earliest date the candidate may reapply for the position
  • Assurance that evidence of rehabilitation will be considered when they reapply

Minnesota Human Rights Act

This Act prohibits employers from discriminating based on protected class, such as race, religion, disability, national origin, sex, marital status, familial status, age, sexual orientation, and gender identity. 

Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

All employers that work with a CRA to conduct background checks must comply with the federal FCRA. The FCRA requires employers to provide written notice to candidates that they plan to conduct a background check and obtain permission in writing before beginning the check. If you decide not to move forward with an employment offer because of the results of the background check, you must also follow the adverse action process established under the FCRA. 

Federal regulations, Minnesota state laws, and local ban-the-box laws in certain Minnesota cities and counties can make compliance a complex proposition. When in doubt, an employer may want to apply the strictest law that applies to any given locality. Compliance is a common reason employers work with a professional background screener to help manage their background checks. Working with a CRA, like GoodHire, helps support compliance at every level of the background check process.

How Far Back Do Background Checks Go In Minnesota?

How far back a Minnesota background check goes depends on the types of screenings you perform and whether you work with a CRA. When you work with a CRA to conduct background checks, the FCRA limits the look-back period to seven years for certain types of information, including:

  • Criminal arrest records that didn’t result in a conviction
  • Civil suits and judgments
  • Paid tax liens
  • Accounts sent to collections

Positions paying $75,000 or more are not subject to the FCRA’s seven-year look-back limitation. Some states limit the reporting of criminal convictions to seven years, but there is no seven-year background check law in Minnesota. 

Bankruptcies may be reported for up to 10 years. 

Minnesota law allows criminal convictions to be reported indefinitely, regardless of the position’s salary.

Certified driving records from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) provide a candidate’s complete driving history for as long as they have been registered in Minnesota. Non-certified driving records provide a five-year driving history. Non-criminal driving record information provided by a CRA is limited to seven years under the FCRA unless the $75,000 salary threshold is met.

How Long Does A Background Check Take In Minnesota?

Turnaround times for a Minnesota background check vary depending on the scope of the search, the type of records you’re searching, the availability of records, and whether you complete the check independently or work with a CRA. A background check may be ready instantly if the required information is available online, such as a Social Security number (SSN) trace, national criminal database search, or sex offender registry search. Or it could take a week or longer if it requires manual searches of criminal records or cooperation from other organizations, such as former employers or educational institutions.

Working with a background check provider can help speed the process. GoodHire’s access to multiple databases, public records sources, and relationships with courthouses throughout the country return fast, accurate results while supporting compliance.

How To Get A MN Employment Background Check

An employer can search a candidate’s records directly or work with a qualified CRA to perform background checks. If you choose to DIY your screenings, you can order some types of Minnesota background checks online. 

For example, you can request a criminal records check through the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, but you’ll need notarized consent from the candidate to complete the check. The check includes a search of the Minnesota Criminal History System (CHS) and the FBI’s records—if authorized.

You can order a driving records check through the DVS Department by completing a DVS records request form and mailing it to DVS or taking it to the DVS office in St. Paul. You can’t complete a Minnesota driving records check for someone else online.

If you choose to handle a MN background check internally, you must order each screening separately, which can be cumbersome and time-consuming. When you work with a professional background check provider, the process is streamlined, and workflows are automated, enabling you to make hiring decisions and onboard candidates faster. Plus, a provider such as GoodHire has tools that support compliance with the most up-to-date laws and regulations. 

How Much Does A Minnesota State Background Check Cost?

The cost of a state of Minnesota background check varies depending on the searches you include. If your hiring team orders the checks, you may have to pay for each one separately. An FBI background check, which includes searches of state and federal criminal databases ranges from $25.25 to $33.25. A Minnesota state criminal records search ranges from $8 to $15.

If you request another person’s driving records through the Department of Driver and Vehicle Services, the cost is $9.50 for non-certified records and $10.50 for certified records. Candidates can also request their own non-certified driving records for $9 and certified records for $10.

Working with a CRA is often more cost-effective and less time-consuming than having your human resources team conduct Minnesota background checks. GoodHire, now a Checkr company, offers custom background check packages to meet your hiring needs, starting at $29.99.

County Resources

Check out the information below to learn about ban-the-box laws and public records in some of Minnesota’s largest counties. In addition to the resources listed below, Minnesota offers a search of many state district court records and documents at Minnesota Court Records Online (MCRO)


Anoka County is a Northern suburb of the Twin Cities and home to nearly 369,000 residents. Its county seat, Anoka, is the Halloween Capital of the World. The city hosted its first Halloween parade more than 100 years ago to stop unwelcome hijinx on Halloween night. Today, Anoka hosts Halloween-themed events throughout the entire month of October. 

Public Information & Records:

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Located in the southeast corner of the Twin Cities metro area, Dakota County is the third-most populous county in Minnesota with roughly 443,000 residents. Its largest cities are Lakeville, Eagan, and Burnsville.

Public Information & Records:


Home to Minnesota’s largest city, Minneapolis, Hennepin County is also the headquarters for corporate giants United Health and Target. More than 1.26 million residents call Hennepin County home. After Minneapolis, Bloomington, Brooklyn Park, and Plymouth are the county’s most populous cities.  

Public Information & Records:

A local ban-the-box law applies to public sector employees in the city of Minneapolis.


Ramsey County is both the smallest and second most populous county in Minnesota, with a population of more than 536,000. It’s the home of Minneapolis’ twin city, St. Paul, as well as the large suburbs of Maplewood and Roseville. U.S. News and World Report ranked St. Paul as the second best city in the US for public parks: 99% of its residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park.

Public Information & Records:

A local ban-the-box law applies to public sector employees in the city of St. Paul.


Named for the first US president, Washington County is situated east of St. Paul and is home to nearly 276,000 residents. Part of the Twin Cities metro area, its largest cities include Woodbury, Cottage Grove, and Oakdale. The county seat of Stillwater is known as the birthplace of Minnesota.

Public Information & Records:


Wright County is the fastest-growing county in Minnesota with a population of just over 148,000 residents. Located near the Twin Cities metro area, its largest cities are Otsego and St. Michael. The county’s third largest city, Buffalo, is the county seat and home to the Kites on Ice festival that takes place every February.

Public Information & Records:

Get A Minnesota Background Check With GoodHire

Background checks can provide peace of mind to Minnesota employers in all industries. GoodHire offers 100+ screening options for employers, saving you time and effort while helping you to maintain compliance with federal, state and local laws from start to finish. To learn more about our fast, accurate background checks, reach out to our sales team

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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.