State criminal history checks search databases from counties throughout a state. This Colorado background check will pull criminal history records from all counties that report into the repository of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation Department of Public Safety. Such counties may include the City and County of Denver, Arapahoe County, Weld County, and Larimer County. Employers in Colorado often rely on this type of check to expand the reach of their employee screenings—usually after running county-specific checks. At backgroundchecks.com, we can process state criminal background checks for 30 states, including Colorado.
Like other states, Colorado has laws and regulations that limit the use of employment background checks in certain situations. Below, we have outlined the most relevant regulations.
Ban the box
In 2012, Colorado passed a law banning the box for public employers. The law applies to state agencies and licensing agencies alike. It delays the background check until after a candidate is either determined to be a finalist for a position or given a conditional employment offer. If a state employer wishes to disqualify a candidate based on a criminal conviction, it must first consider the nature of the conviction, whether the conviction relates to the job at hand, how much time has passed since the crime, and whether the candidate has had a record of good conduct since the conviction.
Most ban the box laws are so named because they prohibit employers from asking the “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?” question on job applications. (This question is known as “the box,” as offenders are usually required to check the box that says “Yes.”) Colorado is unique in that there is no language in its ban the box law about this type of job application query. The reasoning is Colorado state agencies already had a policy of not asking about criminal history on job applications before this 2012 law was passed.
Colorado’s ban the box law goes into territory usually left to other types of legislation. The law bars state employers from considering arrests that didn’t lead to convictions, offenses that were expunged, or charges that were later dismissed.
Denver also has a law banning the box for public employers.
Colorado’s ban the box law is not the only regulation that prohibits the use of expunged or sealed criminal records for employment purposes. There is also a state law on the books that restricts all employers, public and private, from considering expunged or sealed records during hiring. It doesn’t matter whether these records pertain to convictions or arrests.
Most employers in Colorado are not technically barred from considering arrest records in hiring decisions. While the state ban the box law prohibits state agencies from using arrest history information, there is no equivalent law for private employers. However, the Colorado Civil Rights Division has released guidelines for employers, which strongly discourage employers from inquiring about arrest records. To avoid potential legal troubles, employees should heed this guidance. This Colorado background check will not include any information about arrests that did not lead to a conviction.
Employers in Colorado cannot use credit history information for employment purposes unless the information bears a clear and considerable relationship to the job at hand.
Records of military or civil disobedience cannot be used for hiring decisions in Colorado unless they led to criminal convictions.