Do Pending Charges Show up on a Background Check? What You Need to Know

When you apply for a job, the boss might check your past to see if you have any legal troubles. Sometimes, they can see charges that haven’t been decided in court yet—these are called pending charges.

A big charge, like one for doing something very wrong, may show up more often than small ones or driving mistakes.

The rules about seeing these pending charges are different in each state and each boss might look at them differently too. Bosses should be clear about how they use this information when they decide on hiring someone.

They must also follow the right steps so they don’t break any laws.

If there is ever a mistake in what shows up about someone’s past, people can ask to make it right. It’s good for everyone looking for a job to understand all of this and important for companies to treat people fairly when checking their criminal records.

So, let’s find out more about whether pending charges appear on background checks and what it means for jobs!

What are Pending Charges?

Pending charges refer to criminal charges that have been filed but have not yet been resolved in court. These could include misdemeanors or felonies, and they may vary by state laws and employer policies for inclusion in background checks.


Pending charges are when the police have accused someone of a crime, but that person hasn’t gone to court yet. It’s like having an unfinished case with your name on it. These can include all sorts of crimes, from small ones called misdemeanors to big ones known as felonies.

The information about these charges often gets written down and added to different databases for criminal records.

This information sits in court records and can show up when someone runs a background check on you. A background check is a way for employers or others to see if you’ve been involved in any legal trouble before they decide things like whether to give you a job or rent you an apartment.

When people talk about arrest records or criminal history, they’re looking at what might come up during this kind of check.

Factors that Determine Inclusion in Background Checks

Factors that determine if pending charges show up on a background check include:

  1. Jurisdiction: Laws regarding the inclusion of pending charges in background checks vary by state, affecting whether they will appear.
  2. Severity of the Charge: Felonies are more likely to be included in background checks than misdemeanors or traffic violations.
  3. Employer Policies: Some employers choose to exclude pending charges from background checks unless they result in a conviction.
  4. Timing of the Background Check: Pending charges may not appear if the background check is conducted before the charges are filed or during a specific period after their resolution.

Do Pending Charges Show up on Background Checks?

State laws and employer policies vary, leading to differences in whether pending charges will appear on a background check. It’s important for employers to understand the legal considerations and take steps to ensure transparency in the hiring process.

Differences in State Laws and Employer Policies

The visibility of pending charges on background checks can vary according to state regulations and employer policies. Some states restrict the reporting of certain information on background checks, while employers may also have their unique guidelines.

State Laws Employer Policies
Laws in some states exclude pending charges from background checks. Companies may opt to consider pending charges despite state restrictions.
Other states allow pending charges to appear, often with limitations. Corporate guidelines may prevent considering charges until after a conviction.
Fair reporting laws dictate the age of charges that can be reported. Employers might set internal rules that are stricter than state laws.
Restrictions may apply to the type of charge shown, based on severity. Some businesses prioritize the relevance of the charge to the job role.
Certain jurisdictions require consent to include pending charges. Policies could mandate background check disclosures in job postings.

Employers and applicants must understand the relevant state laws that govern the inclusion of pending charges in background checks. Employers should craft clear policies that comply with these laws while also aligning with their hiring standards.

Potential Impact on Hiring Decisions

Employers may consider pending charges when making hiring decisions. The presence of pending charges on a background check can raise concerns about an individual’s trustworthiness and reliability.

Employers often assess the nature of the charge, its relevance to the job, and the potential risk it poses to their organization. A careful review of state laws and employer policies regarding disclosure and consideration of pending charges is crucial in determining their impact on hiring decisions.

It’s essential for employers to understand that individuals with pending charges are presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, these charges may still influence a company’s decision-making process.

Being transparent with candidates about how pending charges could affect their employment prospects can help prevent misunderstandings or legal issues down the line. It is important for employers to navigate this matter carefully, considering legal obligations while maintaining fairness in their hiring processes.

What Employers Need to Know

Employers need to be aware of the legal considerations surrounding pending charges and background checks, as well as the importance of transparency in the hiring process. It’s also crucial for employers to know what steps to take if inaccurate information is reported on a background check.

Legal Considerations

Pending charges may or may not appear on a background check depending on state laws and employer policies. It’s crucial to understand that individuals have legal rights regarding the accuracy of their background check information, especially when it comes to pending charges.

Employers must adhere to federal and state laws governing the use of criminal records in employment decisions, including providing applicants with an opportunity to address any inaccuracies in their background check reports.

Transparency in the hiring process is essential, and steps should be taken if inaccurate information related to pending charges is reported during a background screening.

Transparency in the Hiring Process

Employers should maintain transparency in the hiring process by clearly communicating their policies regarding pending charges in background checks. It is crucial to provide candidates with an opportunity to explain any pending charges and consider the nature of the offense, its relevance to the job, and how much time has passed since the incident.

Employers must ensure that their hiring decisions comply with state laws and regulations while also being fair and unbiased.

Moving forward to “Steps to Take if Inaccurate Information is Reported,” employers must be prepared to address inaccuracies promptly and take appropriate action in accordance with legal requirements.

Steps to Take if Inaccurate Information is Reported

If you find inaccurate information in your background check report, take these steps:

  1. Contact the Background Check Company: Notify the company that conducted the background check and explain the inaccuracies in writing, referencing specific errors.
  2. Request a Reinvestigation: Request a reinvestigation of your background check to correct any inaccuracies, providing any supporting documents or evidence.
  3. Notify the Employer: Inform the employer that received the inaccurate report about the discrepancies and your actions to rectify them.
  4. Know Your Rights: Familiarize yourself with your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) regarding disputing inaccurate information on your background check.
  5. Seek Legal Advice: Consult with an attorney specializing in employment law if efforts to resolve the issue directly with the background check company and employer are unsuccessful.

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