Conducting Criminal Record Checks in Utah
Employers in Utah are permitted or required to conduct criminal record checks in accordance with these rules.
Utah laws contain restrictions on the use of criminal history record information and expunged criminal records for employment purposes. There are also restrictions on the inspection of court records for employment purposes.
For purposes of employment background checks for their own employees, the dissemination of information from a criminal history record or warrant of arrest information is limited to:
- private security agencies
- employers whose employees are responsible for the care, custody or control of children
- employers whose employees will have fiduciary trust over money
- employers whose employees provide health care to children, vulnerable adults or the elderly
Before requesting criminal record information on an employee or potential employee, the employer must obtain a signed waiver from the employee about whom the information is being requested.
Special Rules for Licensing and Fingerprinting
The Utah State Office of Education (USOE) reviews background check information only for licensed educators, and not for non-licensed educational employees.
No one with a felony conviction may provide child care, child placement services, foster care or institutional care in Utah state facilities or programs. The prohibition also covers individuals licensed to provide day care services.
Personnel at agencies providing services for children and vulnerable adults are required to submit a set of fingerprints and undergo a criminal background check.
At the time of initial application and renewal for licensure, all health care facilities must submit the name and other identifying information for each person associated with the facility in a direct patient care position to the department of health. The department of health must then determine whether any individual associated with the facility in a direct patient care position has been found guilty of child abuse or neglect, or abuse of persons with disabilities or the elderly. The determination is required, regardless of whether the person was the subject of a criminal background check within the preceding three-year period. Individuals who have not resided in the state for five years must submit fingerprints for an FBI national criminal history record check. The cost of the FBI background check is charged to the licensee.
In addition, health care facilities must have criminal background checks performed for new hires. The health care facility must submit to the Department of Health, within 10 days of the initial hiring of an individual who provides direct care to patients, that person's name and other identifying information (may include fingerprints). The requirement applies even if the individual has been subject to a criminal background check within the preceding three-year period.
Criminal background checks may be required for employees who provide rehabilitative services in education programs.
Utah's Public Safety Code and Transportation Code allows certain cities to require a criminal background check as a condition of providing ground transportation service to the city's airport. A ground transportation service provider is defined as a driver who provides ground transportation service where the pickup or drop-off of passengers occurs at an airport under the city's authority.
Any person requesting a certificate, an initial license, or a renewal license for a residential child care facility must submit to the Department of Public Safety the name and other identifying information, including fingerprints, of existing, new and proposed owners, directors, members of the governing body, employees, providers of care, volunteers and all adults residing in the residence. A person seeking renewal of a license or certificate is not required to submit fingerprints of an individual if the individual has been living in Utah for the past five years, has previously submitted fingerprints for a national record check and has been living in Utah since that time. The applicant must pay the cost of the background check.
In addition, a licensee must not allow a person who has been convicted, pleaded no contest, or is currently subject to a plea in abeyance or diversion agreement for any felony or misdemeanor to:
- provide child care
- provide volunteer services for a licensed child care program or a child care program operating under a residential child care certificate
- reside at the premises where child care is provided
- function as an owner, director, or member of the governing body of a licensed child care program or a child care program operating under a residential child care certificate
Applicants for a nursing license must undergo a criminal background check.
Applicants for a Utah real estate license must submit fingerprint cards and must consent to a criminal background check. The cost of the background check is borne by the applicant. Any new license issued is conditional, pending completion of the background check. If the background check discloses that the applicant has failed to accurately disclose a criminal history, the license will be revoked.
Prior to the issuance of a license, security personnel are required to undergo a criminal background check.
An employer who is not a health care facility and is hiring an individual to provide services to an elderly or disabled person in the home of the elderly or disabled person may obtain a background check of the individual from the Department of Health via the database of substantiated abuse and neglect cases. However, the employer must certify to the department that the employer intends to hire, or has hired, the individual whose information the employer has submitted to the department for the purpose of providing care to an elderly adult or a disabled person in the home of the elderly adult or disabled person.
The Employment Selection Procedures Act, which applies to employers of 15 or more employees, provides that an employer cannot ask a job applicant to supply his or her Social Security number, date of birth, or driver license number until either an applicant is offered a job or with the applicant's consent, at the point in the application process where the employer would be, where applicable, required to obtain a criminal background check, credit history, or driving record.
Under the Act, employers must maintain a specific policy regarding the retention, disposition, access to, and confidentiality of the information obtained and must allow an applicant to review the policy, if requested, prior to providing any information as part of the initial application process. Information obtained as part of the employment selection process cannot be retained more than two years after the day the applicant provided the information to the employer, if the employer does not hire the applicant within that two year period.
Utah law provides that not all driving under the influence (DUI) convictions result in a person being ineligible to provide licensed child care. Only a Misdemeanor A conviction, which means a conviction which involved transporting a minor while driving under the influence, or inflicting bodily injury to another while driving under the influence, would make a person ineligible to provide licensed child care.