Wisconsin State Background Check

When your business needs to find a candidate for a new position or replace a departing staff member, how do you find the right fit? The multi-step process of finding the right hire takes more than reading resumes. The best way to complete your due diligence as part of the hiring process is ordering a background check. With this Wisconsin state background check, business owners can quickly assemble a complete view of criminal records for an applicant in the state.

Data Coverage Map

The Crime Information Bureau in the Wisconsin Department of Justice oversees the central criminal data repository for the state. Background checks using this database will return information from each of Wisconsin’s 72 counties, including Milwaukee, Waukesha, Dane, Racine, and Brown. backgroundchecks.com offers similar state-level background for 45 states.

What may be reported on a state criminal history search?

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

Restrictions on Employer Consideration of Criminal Records

The Fair Credit Reporting Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights protect individuals from employment discrimination and encourages fair practices at every level. Some states have identified additional needs beyond those spelled out in federal law. We’ve prepared a summary of restrictions employers should know before ordering a Wisconsin state background check.

Arrest Records

Generally, no employer may ask an applicant about records of prior requests. State law carves out exemptions for job roles if an arrest would make an applicant unbondable, or if the arrest has a “substantial” connection to the job role in question.

Conviction Records

Wisconsin businesses may use conviction records in their employment decisions with some legislative guidance. To consider a conviction for an adverse decision, the crimes (felonies or misdemeanors) must have some relation to the demands of the job. If a business requires an employee to be properly bonded, or if state and federal law institute such a stipulation, convictions that would preclude obtaining such a bond may be considered.

Ban the Box

Wisconsin has several ban the box regulations in place with one limited law at the state level and several municipal regulations. As of July 2016, the state government cannot ask applicants for public jobs about their criminal record until after the individual is deemed a suitable fit for the job role. At that point, a background check may be ordered.

Dane County has a similar restriction in place for public employers originating in 2014. The city of Madison bans the box for public employers and contractors with more than $25,000 in annual municipal contracts.

The city and county of Milwaukee has removed criminal history questions from public applications. Milwaukee city officials emphasized the need for a private fair chance law, but none has been passed yet.


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