The Greater Pittsburgh region, Pennsylvania’s second largest metropolitan area after Philadelphia, centers around a core region of seven counties. Hosting a population of about 2.3 million people, Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington, and Westmoreland counties are part of the narrowest definition of the region. In the broadest definition, the Greater Pittsburgh region includes 54 counties in four states, including Monongalia in West Virginia, Garrett in Maryland, and Jefferson in Ohio. Pittsburgh is the largest population center in the region, with notable suburbs including Penn Hills and Mt. Lebanon.

Long known as “Steel City,” Pittsburgh and its surrounding area no longer play host to the same levels of industrial activity as they once did. Today, biomedical sciences, healthcare, and service-based sectors dominate the regional economy. Major employers based in the area include Kraft-Heinz, GNC, FedEx, and StarKist.

Pittsburgh’s large population energizes a diverse job market which is further stimulated by the region’s interlinked transport networks. Companies based throughout Greater Pittsburgh are likely to encounter job seekers from outside their home county. On the one hand, this factor is a big positive for any company: it creates more opportunities to find talent. On the other hand, the labor pool’s fluidity creates challenges for proper vetting.

Although background checks may already be a routine part of your onboarding processes, hiring within the Greater Pittsburgh Region requires a more focused approach. Limiting background checks to your county of operation may mean missing the opportunity to review relevant criminal records held by other counties in Greater Pittsburgh. To mitigate this risk, implement a metro-wide background check policy. 

As is the case with any policy related to hiring, the procedures you follow must stay within the bounds of the federal and state laws intended to protect applicants from discrimination. While Pennsylvania does not have a state-wide “ban the box” law in place, it does restrict how employers consider criminal records. State law directs employers only to consider misdemeanor and felony crimes that relate to the job role in question. Employers may also only investigate arrests that led to a conviction. offers many adaptable options for conducting instant criminal record searches throughout the Greater Pittsburgh Region; this includes 100% record coverage for Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington, and Westmoreland counties. A US OneSEARCH provides employers with access to instant search results for these counties and more–and each search also consults records maintained throughout all 50 states. Some counties in the broader region, including Monongalia in West Virginia, are not available for instant record searches; instead, we offer direct courthouse searches for collecting information.

For a more granular experience, a Pennsylvania-specific record search may be suitable. Employers with interest in searching records under the expanded definitions of the Pittsburgh metro may consider a regional OneSEARCH. This product includes the ability to customize the search in up to five states.

In Maryland, available databases include the Administrative Office of the Courts, Department of Corrections, and sex offender registry. Ohio information flows from the state’s DOC and sex offender registry, alongside many county-level court systems. For those West Virginia counties available instantly (e.g., Hancock), information also comes from the state’s Admin. Office of the Courts, DOC, and offender registry. 

Information furnished for Pennsylvania stems from the sex offender registry (beginning in 1990), Department of Corrections (beginning in 2003), and the Administrative Office of the Courts, which includes records from Common Pleas Court starting in 2000. Updated once each month, Common Pleas data can include a subject’s:

  • Name, date of birth, and race
  • Address
  • Location, date, and degree of offense
  • Disposition and disposition date

With this data instantly available to companies across Greater Pittsburgh, implementing a thorough, metro-appropriate background check policy doesn’t have to be difficult. Find out more today about how can aid you in finding the best talent for your growing company.

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