top of page

How Far Back Do Employment Background Checks Go in NY? A Complete Guide

Updated: Oct 25, 2023

Navigating the intricate landscape of background checks, especially in a state like New York, can be daunting for both employers and applicants. With unique lookback periods and strict regulations, understanding the nuances becomes critical. Here, we deep dive into the specificities of the New York employment background check system, and how Global Background Screening (GBS) can be your trusted partner in this journey.


How Far Back Do Employment Background Checks Go In NY?

In the State of New York, employers are bound by a "lookback" period of a strict 7 years for Misdemeanor and Felony convictions. What does this mean for you as an employer or applicant? This essentially restricts the reporting of criminal convictions beyond this period, allowing applicants with older convictions a fresh start.


Furthermore, if an individual was merely arrested but not convicted of a crime, these arrests aren't reported. Abiding by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), reporting only charges would be a violation, ensuring the rights and privacy of potential employees are protected.


Different States, Different Rules

The complexity doesn't end in New York. Several states in the US have unique laws when it comes to background checks. Along with New York, the following states also have a strict 7-year lookback period:

  • District of Columbia

  • Kansas

  • Maryland

  • Massachusetts

  • Montana

  • New Hampshire

  • New Mexico

  • Texas

  • Washington

  • California

It's essential to familiarize oneself with these regulations, especially if you're an employer with a workforce spread across different states or if you're an applicant considering jobs in multiple locations.


In New York specifically, there's an additional caveat. To obtain complete Misdemeanor information, an additional fee of $95 is mandatory to be paid to the OCA (Office of Court Administration). This step is crucial for everyone aiming to execute a fully compliant background check.


New York Corrections Law Article 23-A (Helping the applicants with criminal records)

New York's Corrections Law Article 23-A is all about fairness when hiring people who have criminal records. This law says that just because someone has a past conviction, it shouldn't automatically keep them from getting a job. When an employer is considering hiring someone with a criminal recor