What Shows up on a Criminal Background Check in Wisconsin?

Applying for jobs is a nerve-wrecking process for everyone, but especially for people with past criminal convictions on their record. You could nail the interview, but when an employer runs a background check, what they find could greatly change their image of you as a potential employee. In this article, we’ll talk about what show up on a criminal background check, and what employers are allowed to do with the information they find on criminal history reports.

Information Included in a Background Check

In Wisconsin, the criminal history database is managed by the Wisconsin Department of Justice Crime Information Bureau. The criminal history database contains all of the following information:

  • Arrests and charges
  • Prosecution and court information
  • Sentences

This information is compiled from prosecutors, law enforcement agencies, the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, and courts.

Requesting a Background Check

A person, law enforcement agency, or employer can check a person’s criminal history in one of two ways:

  1. A fingerprint-based check
  2. A name-based check

Fingerprint checks are more accurate and thorough, but name checks are easier, and cheaper. Furthermore, some people listed in the database do not have fingerprints on file. For these reasons, name checks are more common than fingerprint checks.

An employer can request a criminal history check on a potential new hire through: wi-recordcheck.org.

Can an Employer Refuse to Hire Someone because of a Conviction?

It is generally against the law for an employer to refuse to hire someone based on his or her criminal history. The exception to this is when a person has a criminal conviction that relates substantially to the job in question. For example, if a person with 8 felony OWI charges on their record was applying to be a bus driver, the employer may have just cause to deny them employment. However, this is a very grey area.

If you believe an employer is discriminating against you because of your criminal history, contact a Wisconsin lawyer today to discuss your options.