The Seven Year Rule in Background Checks

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Criminal records are the ones that are likely to get in the way of a person’s employment. That is why legislators have labored enough to create laws that provide fair treatment to those who had previous records that involve criminal convictions. However, as what we would see later, this so-called “seven year rule” can be more complicated than what it seems to be.

In some states, like in Massachusetts, application forms are constantly being monitored by legal departments and employment lawyers to see if they contain queries about a person’s criminal record. Employers are advised not to include criminal records for reasons of possible discrimination and denying the applicants the right of equal opportunity should they appear in their resume or application form.

But what about other states? So far, only eleven states implement such provision (Washington, Texas, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Montana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Kansas, Colorado, and California). Some of these states don’t have an exemption because of the FCRA’s precedence over the seven year rule. As a result, criminal records will inevitably affect a person’s credit ratings, not just his employment.

At times, the seven year rule may not be applicable, especially when it comes to a person’s income level. Some states such as Washington, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Montana, Maryland, and Kansas, do not implement the seven year rule if an applicant has an annual income of $20,000. The rest, however, do not have such exemption and the seven year rule still applies regardless of the income.

How we come up with the exact seven years makes this rule even more complicated. Even though the commission of the crime happened more than seven years ago, it is the time when he was in custody for seven years that would most likely appear in the records. In some other cases, a person may have been given a parole or probation for a crime he committed ten years ago, but within that period he had also spent a day in custody for a violation so that the seven year count begins all over again. This will also appear on the records and in his application.

As what have been observed earlier, the seven year rule may not always be applicable and lacks the proper delineation. To remove them altogether may not also be the best option since this will put the company at risk. Therefore, it is advisable to consult legal assistance for this matter. They are in the best position to help you in making the right decision.