Tennessee State Background Check

When you must fill an open position, finding the most qualified candidate calls for a well-planned hiring process. During your efforts to identify the best fit for your business, considering all the facts is important— but first you must obtain them. Conducting a background check on an applicant, whether out of caution or because of a legal requirement, allows you to equip yourself with that information. A statewide background check enables businesses to efficiently gather an individual's criminal history information from many sources.

Data Coverage Map

This Tennessee state background check uses the central criminal repository maintained by the state's Bureau of Investigation and includes data provided by Knox, Shelby, Williamson, Davidson, and Hamilton counties and 90 others. backgroundchecks.com provides comprehensive state background checks for 45 states in total, including Tennessee.

What may be reported on a state criminal history search?

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

Restrictions on Criminal Record Usage

Ban the Box

As of April 2016, Tennessee does not allow public employers (e.g., state agencies) to use applications that ask individuals to disclose criminal history information. Once an applicant reaches a later stage of the employment process, employers may inquire into and use criminal records with some guidelines, outlined below.

Prior to the implementation of this ban the box law, Tennessee implemented rules prohibiting local municipalities from creating or expanding their own ban the box legislation. Restrictions on public employers' ability to inquire about convictions on initial applications remain in effect in Chattanooga, Memphis, Nashville, and Hamilton County.

Sealed Records

Criminal history events placed under seal by a court or expunged cannot be considered in employment decisions at any level. This restriction applies to both arrest records and convictions.

Arrest Records

Though it is wise to take care when using arrest records in employment decisions, Tennessee does not restrict private employers from asking applicants about past arrests on applications or in interviews. However, arrests should generally not be the sole basis for an adverse employment decision.

Conviction Records

In accordance with the state's ban the box law for government employment, convictions may be considered with some guidelines. Public employers must consider the relation, if any, between the type of conviction to the duties of the job in question and the time elapsed since conviction. Other requirements, such as considering efforts towards rehabilitation, are also placed on public employers. For private employers, there are no such restrictions, and you may freely consider convictions at any stage.


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