Consent Preferences
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Texas

"The Lone Star State" + "Friendship"

Texas

Background Checks for Employment in Texas

Texas does not restrict employers from using criminal, employment, credit, or education records for the purposes of employment, housing, or loans. Employers are required to follow relevant federal laws preventing discriminatory practices, including the use of unrelated criminal convictions for the purpose of denial.

  • At-home/In-home services – Texas requires that any person employed in a job that provides in-home or at-home services undergo a criminal background check.

  • Insurance – Texas requires anyone working in the insurance industry to undergo a background check revealing all criminal history to their 18th birthday.

  • Public employment – Texas does not hire felons for public employment jobs. Federal law and recent court cases suggest this practice is unconstitutional.

**Texas sued the federal government in 2013 because of guidance by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruling that criminal background checks that reveal convictions may only be used to deny applicants when the conviction bears on the job.


**At the time of this writing (07/11/2019), the Supreme Court of Texas has ruled that the EEOC may issue right-to-sue letters but may not enforce the rule in Texas. Texas has continued to hold the position of denying employment to convicted felons in most state agencies.


Texas Criminal Background Checks

You may request a copy of your own criminal history to ensure the information seen by future employers, military recruiters, admissions officers at colleges, and others is accurate and up to date. Courts may err in updating records of probation or completion of court-mandated classes. That knowledge is important to those who evaluate records for immigration requests and even families seeking to adopt.


Will Arrest Records Show in the Report?

Texas allows for many records to be available on an official background check. In some cases, individuals can find out what information will be on an official background check report through unofficial sources. The legislature of Texas makes certain documents not available to the public.

  • Warrants – Active warrants in Texas will show on an official background check. Individuals concerned about having warrants can access the law-enforcement website for the city or county they live in to determine if there are active warrants in their name.

  • DUI – Convictions for DUI will be reported on official background checks in Texas for at least seven years and may show dating back to an individual’s 18th birthday.

  • Drug/Marijuana – Convictions for drug possession, including marijuana, will be included with an official background check. Texas is currently in the process of modernizing its marijuana laws, and in 2019 began decriminalizing possession of small amounts, which will no longer result in an arrest or conviction and will not show on future background checks.

  • Sex Offender – Anyone convicted of a sex-related crime in the U.S. must register with the regional sex offender registry. Convictions for sex-based crimes will show and can be looked for as far back as the individual’s 18th birthday. The Texas Sex Registry can be used to identify sex offenders unofficially.

  • Parole/Probation – Sentencing tied to a conviction will be included in an official Texas background check. Individuals can contact the regional courts or law enforcement and request a criminal history check to determine if they are on parole or probation.

  • Mugshots – Mugshots are considered public information in Texas, and when included with a court document, are available to the public.

  • Juvenile – Juvenile records are not public in Texas, they will not be in a background check, and cannot be examined by members of the public. Juvenile records cannot be used for official employment, tenancy, or financial decisions. Texas makes exceptions for certain industries, like health care institutions and judicial agents, who may access juvenile records under state law.

Driving Records

If a company hires you to drive its vehicles or if you’re volunteering to drive students to a school function, your supervisor may request a copy of your driving record. The Texas Department of Public Safety makes 3-year records and full records available on its website. Your history of accidents, moving violations, DUIs, and license suspensions will all show up on this record.

Texas Public Records Act and Laws for Background Check Public Information Act (PIA) Texas law allows for most court records, police records, and other documents to be easily available to the public. The Texas Public Records Act provides that official government documents be made available to the public. This includes local and county governments, some for-profit and non-profit organizations, and those working for the state. The state legislature and the state courts are exempt. The Texas Department of Public Safety provides online pay-per-use access to court records for cases that result in convictions or delayed adjudication, which is a sentencing provision that requires a guilty plea. Texas follows federal law for the use of background checks. Through federal law, employers are cautioned that using a criminal background check to disqualify an employee or applicant must relate to the job at hand. Denials based entirely on the results of a criminal conviction that do not preclude the applicant’s ability to do the job are considered discriminatory under the law.
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