Clustered tightly around the city of the same name on the western shores of Lake Michigan, the Milwaukee metropolitan area contains Wisconsin’s most populous city and a robust economy. Also called Greater Milwaukee, about 1.5 million people reside within this metro area, which contains just four counties: Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington, and Waukesha.

Traditionally home to breweries and manufacturers, Greater Milwaukee still reflects the presence of those industries alongside growing service and healthcare sectors. Important employers in the area include Harley-Davidson, Miller, Kohl’s, and Northwestern Mutual.

Connected to the surrounding region by several interstate highways and bordered by other metros including the Racine metro, commuting to and from work is common for workers in greater Milwaukee. Due to this ease of movement, it is normal for Milwaukee-area residents to seek work outside of the county in which they live.

Companies of all kinds within Greater Milwaukee can tap into numerous benefits as these mobile and motivated job seekers look for opportunities to put their talents to good use. That does not mean every application that you field is worthy of approval, though, and metro area operations introduce several complications into your hiring process. To address these challenges, turn to a modernized background check policy suitable specifically for metro-area employers.

“If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” may be a useful axiom, but it doesn’t apply when your business uses the same background check policies for years on end. Not only does the law evolve, but so does the job market. When you receive applications from different counties, a background check that only searches local records will limit your field of view. Consider that records maintained by Milwaukee County will not reflect an individual’s criminal history in Waukesha. Such an oversight could lead to a hiring error. Avoiding that scenario is easy: take the opportunity to review the business’s current procedures and bring them up-to-date for operations within a growing metropolitan region.

Don’t worry: this shift won’t add a fresh layer of complexity to your hiring process, and applicants won’t notice the difference. Your business, on the other hand, will gain the opportunity to review more data and enhance confidence in the decisions you do make. 

Before making any changes, ensure your compliance with local and federal rules implemented to safeguard fair hiring practices. Take a few moments to review the rules that govern your operations.

Wisconsin does not use any “ban the box” laws, and no such rules exist on a local level, either. State law prohibits inquiries into arrests that are not tied to pending charges, though criminal history reports usually do not include non-conviction arrests. Employers can consider felony and misdemeanor convictions, along with any other offenses which prove to be “substantially related” to the duties of the job. offers businesses looking to retool their vetting procedures for metro-area operations a series of highly useful tools for gathering data. Instant criminal record search results, available through our US OneSEARCH product, allow you to rapidly access results for the entire metro, including Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington, and Waukesha counties. To include other nearby metro areas, a state-level background check will yield broadly useful results. A regional OneSEARCH can include all of Wisconsin plus up to 4 additional nearby states.

Data contained in these reports comes from the following sources:  Wisconsin's Administrative Office of the Courts (updated monthly), the Department of Corrections (updated monthly), and the state sex offender registry (updated bi-weekly). Reports may include the applicant’s:

  • Name
  • Charges
  • County of offenses
  • Sentence and disposition date

For Milwaukee companies, a far-reaching metropolitan background check policy is the superior option for evaluating potential new hires. Discover how you can use these metro-ready tools to your advantage today.


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