Background checks in Las Vegas Nevada


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A Nevada background check is when an employer, landlord, licensing agency, or other company screens an applicant's criminal and consumer history. Background checks show past convictions and pending charges as well as addresses, credit history, and employment records. Many companies run background checks on job applicants. And they can be a major factor in hiring decisions. 

Background checks are legal in Nevada. But there are restrictions:

  1. Nevada's "ban the box" law prohibits government employers from asking about criminal history on the initial application;
  2. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires certain employers to get applicants' consent to run background checks; and
  3. State and federal anti-discrimination laws make employers vulnerable to legal action if their blanket disqualification of people with criminal records ends up discriminating against black and brown applicants.

Some Nevada criminal records are sealable. This means they will not show up in future criminal background checks (with some exceptions).

Below our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys discuss:

Also see our article about disclosing criminal history on Nevada job applications.

"background check" written in marker on glass by hand
Nevada background checks include all past convictions. Not just ones in the last seven years.

1. What is a background check in Nevada?

It is an investigation of someone's consumer and criminal history. People applying for jobs, housing, or licenses may have to get background checks.

The people or companies requesting a background check may perform it themselves. Or they can rely on third-party reporting agencies. Examples include:

There are two types of background checks through FCRA:

  1. Consumer reports, which show general credit information and criminal history.
  2. Investigative consumer reports, which also include reputational information.

2. What information shows up?

Depending on the scope, background checks may reveal some or all of the following:

  • Current and past addresses,
  • Credit history,
  • Employment history,
  • Education history
  • DMV driving/vehicle registration records
  • Immigration records
  • Social security record
  • Insurance claim reports
  • Sex offender status
  • Any state licenses
  • Past felony convictions that have not been sealed
  • Past gross misdemeanor convictions that have not been sealed
  • Past misdemeanor convictions that have not been sealed
  • Pending arrests
  • Whether the person is currently on parole or probation

Nevada law used to limit criminal background checks to the last seven years. But now, even convictions from the distant past show up on these checks.1

Background checks in Nevada do not include:

  • Arrests that did not lead to a conviction (unless they are pending)
  • Sealed records (in most situations)

3. What sources do background checks pull from?

Background checks compile information from various sources. Some may include:

Employers may also seek out references. These may include:

  • Past colleagues
  • Former bosses
  • Neighbors
  • Friends or family

4. Are background checks legal in Nevada?

Yes, as long as employers abide by the following rules:

  1. Nevada's "ban the box" law (just for state and local jobs), 
  2. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), and
  3. Anti-discrimination laws

4.1. Nevada's "ban the box" law

"Ban the box" refers to the checkbox on employment applications that ask if the candidate has a criminal record. As of 2018, state and local government employers in Nevada may not ask about criminal history on an initial job application. The only exception is for:

Job applications must say that criminal records are not necessarily disqualifying. And employers must consider the following five factors if the applicant does have a record:

  1. How much time has passed since the conviction;
  2. How old the applicant was at the time of the offense;
  3. The severity and nature of the offense;
  4. How the crime relates to the job; and
  5. Evidence that the applicant has been rehabilitated

Government employers can consider criminal histories when making hiring decisions only after:

  • The final interview; or
  • A conditional job offer was made; or
  • The applicant has been certified by the agency administrator

Government employers may take into account past convictions and pending criminal charges (filed in the last six months). They may not consider the following background information:

  • Misdemeanors that did not result in jail time
  • Arrests that did not lead to a conviction;
  • Cases that were dismissed;
  • Cases that were sealed

Government employers who rescind an offer based on criminal history must allow the applicant to:

  • Explain the circumstances of the conviction; and/or
  • Challenge the criminal record2

The "ban the box" law helps give ex-offenders a more even playing field to find work in the public sector.

4.2. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

FCRA is a federal law. It applies to all employers who hire a third party to run a background check. FRCA requires these employers to:

  1. Obtain applicants' written consent before conducting a criminal background check; and
  2. Notifying applicants if their criminal record is the reason they were not hired

Remember, employers who run in-house background checks are not bound by FCRA.3

4.3. Anti-discrimination laws

Both federal and Nevada state laws prohibit employers from discriminating on the basis of race and color.4 Due to unfair police practices and economic policies, African Americans and Latinos have higher arrest and conviction rates.5 Therefore, employers who automatically pass over people with criminal records may be indirectly discriminating on the basis of race and color.

Therefore, employers are encouraged to think twice before denying employment to every applicant with a criminal record. Depending on the situation, applicants may have a viable case of employment discrimination.

5. Do sealed records show up on background checks?

In most cases, no. But the following agencies may view criminal records:

Everyone is advised to get their records sealed if possible. In Nevada, dismissed cases are sealable right away. And most misdemeanors are sealable after one year.7

However, the sealing process takes several months. Learn how to seal criminal records in Nevada.

(Nevada does not have record "expungements." But sealing and expunging are very similar.)

6. Do pardoned convictions show up on background checks?

Yes. In Nevada, a governor's pardon is an official forgiveness of a crime.8 But it does not erase the crime from the person's criminal record. Only record sealing can do that.

The primary purpose of pardons is to restore civil rights and possibly the right to possess firearms.

7. What if my criminal record is inaccurate?

First, consult with an attorney. In most cases, people can submit a correction request to:

Department of Public Safety

Records, Communications and Compliance Division

333 West Nye Lane, Suite 100

Carson City, NV 89706

The Compliance staff will then research the matter. If they correct the mistake, they will notify the FBI.

8. What if I was discriminated against because of my criminal record?

Consult with an experienced attorney right away. There are various options to explore.

Job applicants may file a claim with the:

NERC or EEOC may be able to mediate or settle the claim. Otherwise, applicants can file a lawsuit against the employer. Applicants may be eligible for money damages.

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Call our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys. 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673). We offer FREE consultations.

For additional help...

Have you been arrested? Or do you need a record seal? Our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys can help.

Call us 24/7 at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673). Or fill out the form on this page. We offer free consultations.

Also see our article about firearm background checks in Nevada.

In California? Learn about California background investigations.

In Colorado? Learn about Colorado background investigations.

Legal References

  1. Nevada Senate Bill 409 (2015).
  2. NRS 284.281; NRS 284.283; Nevada Assembly Bill 384 (2017).
  3. 15 U.S.C. § 1681.
  4. NRS 613.330; Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  5. Criminal Justice Fact Sheet - NAACP.
  6. NRS 179.301.
  7. NRS 179.245; NRS 179.255.
  8. NRS 213.090.

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