How far back can you check criminal records in Tennessee?

Updated: Dec 16, 2020


Every state has different requirements as per the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) on the reporting of criminal records.


A criminal history check in Tennessee can literally go back for 25-30 years for employment and housing purposes.


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There are some states that can legally go back as far as information is publicly obtainable and then there are other states where you can only go back 7 years from the date of the background check request.






Employers must abide by the FCRA as it pertains to their state.


Failure to comply with this federal law can lead to costly lawsuits.


Under the federal law, however, it is not stated as to how far back criminal records can be reported – It is up to the states to determine those parameters.


Tennessee is one of the states where there is no limit as to how far back you can report criminal history.


A criminal history check in Tennessee can literally go back for 25-30 years.


States such as New Mexico, California, and New York have added laws limiting the reporting of criminal convictions to 7 years.


There are also no laws that prevent employers from using that information to make hiring decisions; however the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued guidance encouraging employers to consider criminal convictions on a case-by-case basis.


There are plenty of other states that have limitations on arrest records only (without a conviction) but Tennessee does not have those laws in place at this time.



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