Employers everywhere must know and understand the importance of implementing hiring procedures that not only equip the business with tools for success but also create a safe, secure working environment. Conducting a state-wide background check on applicants is often an important step to take.
While background checks are mandated by law for some positions, private employers in Montana may choose to order a report on an applicant as part of their own due diligence. To use these records, it is important to understand the rules in your state that govern such reports. backgroundchecks.com currently has the capability to process state background for 45 states, including Montana.
Criminal history information in Montana is maintained in a centralized repository held by the Montana Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation. The DOJ handles requests made for a Montana state background check, pulling together all information legally available from around the state, including criminal histories from Missoula, Yellowstone, Flathead, Cascade, and Gallatin counties.
In general, Montana does not rely on any state-level regulations to govern background checks. The primary restriction facing employers concerns arrest records. According to state privacy laws, employers shall not ask or inquire about an applicant's arrest history at any time, either on an application or in an interview. However, convictions face no such restrictions. Montana has not enacted ban the box laws at any level of government, so employers are free to ask about convictions at any stage of the hiring process.
Please note the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act still apply, and employers must use caution when making decisions based on a Montana state background check. Review your obligations as outlined in these laws to understand how to fairly evaluate candidates while protecting your business from the consequences of discriminatory practices. Considering information such as time elapsed since a conviction and whether an individual’s criminal history relates to the job tasks in question are important for Montana employers to consider in the absence of other regulation.