The region around the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth, frequently grouped together under the label of "the Dallas metro area," is a large metropolitan zone comprised of thirteen counties centered primarily around the city (and county) of Dallas. Other counties within the region include Collin, Denton, Ellis, and Parker counties. Put together, the counties within this metro zone have a population near 7.5 million. With some of Texas's most populous counties and bountiful opportunities for work, the Dallas metro increasingly attracts people who wish to live and work in the area.
For employers in Dallas, the Dallas suburbs, or even in a county that borders the metro region, it is increasingly likely that the applicants with whom you interact have previously resided in one of these counties. For that reason, a vetting process that looks at the "big picture" and provides hiring managers with a complete snapshot of an individual's history is necessary. For a business based in Dallas county, for example, looking at only the records available within that county could miss the whole story.
Consider that a hypothetical applicant could have had trouble with the law in nearby Tarrant County, home of Fort Worth, prior to moving to Dallas. A screening that looks only at background reports available for Dallas county will likely not include these records. Missing this data is not an option, especially in a world where hiring decisions are increasingly a cause for concern in terms of liability in the future. Before making any decisions on how to proceed, though, it is useful to know whether you must adhere to any restrictions on criminal history inquiries.
Since 2015, Dallas County has had "ban the box" rules in place removing initial inquiries into criminal history, but only for the county as an employer itself. For private businesses, no such restrictions are in place. In fact, Texas has no statewide ban the box rules, and very few overall restrictions on the usage of criminal records when making hiring decisions. No other counties within the metro region institute additional restrictions, either. Only expunged or sealed records are exempt from consideration, although employers should exercise caution when considering records that may not be indicative of guilt, such as a prior arrest. Considering the criteria for using criminal records set out in guidance by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission can help employers to navigate this potential minefield while still making sound decisions.
For companies based within or near a metro region as large as Dallas-Ft. Worth, all potential new employees should receive the same level of consideration. Be mindful of how often today's workers move and use address histories when available to help improve your search parameters. However, you can also opt to explore records in the entire metropolitan zone at once through backgroundchecks.com's regionally-tailored reports. Developing a process that taps into every available source of information can help to streamline hiring and avoid problems that can fall through the cracks. Allow us to help by instantly aggregating this data from our database into a report that tells you much of what you'll need to make a decision.
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