Louisiana State Background Check

Louisiana measures over 52,300 square miles and spans 64 counties. While most employers start their employee background check process by searching for criminal records on a local county level, the size and scope of states such as Louisiana demand another type of background check. How can employers cover more ground in Louisiana without ordering individual criminal checks for each county in the state?

The answer is a state criminal repository search. A statewide search may yield information from multiple counties that report to a central database. These checks are useful for discovering crimes outside of the immediate area in which the subject lives or works. 

At backgroundchecks.com, we can currently process in-house state criminal record searches for 30 states, including Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Florida, and South Carolina. These states have electronic access systems for their criminal repositories, making it easier to conduct searches. For 14 states, we can submit criminal search requests directly to the state for fulfillment. However, six states have restrictions that prevent us from completing state repository searches: California, Massachusetts, Nevada, Ohio, West Virginia—and Louisiana.

Alternate options for conducting criminal background checks in Louisiana

While Louisiana does not currently have a system in place that allows us to conduct a criminal history search of the central state repository, that doesn’t mean employers cannot supplement their county-based searches with broader checks to cover more of the state.

Our top recommendation for employers across all states is to conduct address history checks and employment verifications as part of their pre-employment background checks. These steps can provide valuable supplemental information about candidates: other counties in which they have lived or worked.

In most cases, if someone commits a crime, they do so near where they live or work. Ordering extra criminal checks in the counties where a candidate has spent substantial time is a reliable method for finding additional criminal history information. 

While Louisiana has 64 counties, your candidate may have resided or held jobs in just five of them. Ordering county criminal history checks in five counties is more realistic for employers than ordering checks in all 64 counties. When you can’t conduct a state repository check, this strategy can provide extra peace of mind during hiring.

What may be reported on a state criminal history search?

  • Jurisdiction where record is recorded
  • Case number
  • Defendant
  • Charge
  • Filing date
  • Degree of offense, like misdemeanor
  • Disposition
  • Disposition date
  • Sentence

What are the restrictions on background check searches in Louisiana? 

Louisiana has multiple background check restrictions that employers should know about before conducting a criminal history screening.

The first restriction is the state’s ban the box policy, on the books since June 2016. That law bars state government offices from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history until after a job interview. If the position doesn’t require an interview, then the hiring manager must delay criminal history inquiries until after making a conditional offer of employment. In addition to requiring that state offices remove questions about criminal history from their job applications, the law may require employers to delay criminal background searches until later in the hiring process. 

Note that this ban the box policy only applies to state employers and not to local government offices or private employers. There are two municipalities in Louisiana that have adopted their own ban the box policies: Baton Rouge bans the box for local government jobs, and New Orleans bans the box for city jobs and city vendors and contractors.

In 2021, Louisiana adopted a law about the use of criminal history in employment that prohibits employment-related discrimination based on a person’s criminal background. The law bars most employers in the state from considering arrest records when making hiring decisions. 

Many states have similar restrictions in place, recognizing that arrests do not denote guilt in the way that convictions do. However, until now, Louisiana has not limited employers in their ability to inquire about arrest records or consider those records during the hiring process, even if an arrest did not lead to a conviction. The new law reads that, “unless otherwise provided by law, when making a hiring decision, an employer shall not request or consider an arrest record or charge that did not result in a conviction, if such information is received in the course of a background check.”

The law also states that employers “considering other types of criminal records” such as convictions “must make an individual assessment of whether an applicant’s criminal history record has a direct and adverse relationship with the specific duties of the job that may justify denying the applicant the position.” Employers should look at each criminal conviction and decide whether it has relevance to the job at hand based on details such as the nature of the offense, the amount of time that has elapsed since the conviction, and signs of rehabilitation.

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