Guide

What is the Difference Between a Level 1 and Level 2 Background Check?

A single bad hiring decision can have a dire impact on your brand and business reputation. Around 30% of all information on resumes is somehow stretched, and occupational fraud depletes 5% of the average organization’s annual revenue. The importance of background checks cannot be overvalued.

It is estimated that 96% of employers conduct background checks today. The purpose of background checks usually involves promoting a safe workplace and selecting hire-worthy candidates. 

An employer should take care to fulfill background screening requirements, which depend on the respective jurisdiction. Failure to observe these requirements can lead to severe penalties and lawsuits. 

What are background checks on levels 1 and 2? 

Florida statutes use the terms “level 1” and “level 2 background checks” to denote the method of the criminal record check and how much data is covered. They can also refer to specific disqualifying offenses if certain legislation is considered. 

Level 1 and Level 2 are defined in Chapter 435 of the Florida statutes but are not associated with all of its provisions. 

Generally, level 1 refers to an employment history screening and a name-based check. Level 2 usually refers to a national and state fingerprint-based check and only applies to candidates designated by law as holding positions of trust and responsibility. 

Closer definitions  

Level 1 screening under Chapter 435 is defined as a basic, more general screening method. It can include criminal records, employment history, etc. People who hold records of felonies or who have a warrant cannot be subjected to a level 1 background check.

A level 2 background screening goes into greater depth. People performing level 2 checks search fingerprint-based records and county criminal record searches through law enforcement agencies or local courts. 

Employers conducting background screening on this level coordinate and comply with the requirements of the FBI, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and local courts. They may use the services of a background check provider to make sure information integrity and security are maintained, among other reasons.

As mentioned, a level 2 background screening is needed for job positions that involve trust or responsibility. This includes positions that involve working with children, the elderly, and other vulnerable groups. Disqualifying offenses include, but are not limited to, kidnapping, manslaughter, and assault. 

Only people who work in Florida are subject to level 2 background screening. 

Important considerations for employers 

It is very important for hiring managers to know how to analyze a background report. Companies need to be able to find reasonable grounds to disqualify a candidate without risking accusations of discrimination in the recruitment process.

One can search national as well as state criminal history databases for warrants, arrests, and other information. Neither database can be searched for specific offenses within an individual record. 

Pre-employment screening red flags

Pre-employment screening can give the employer an overview of credit, criminal, and driving history. Below are some potential red flags. 

Driving records

Truck drivers, delivery drivers, and other positions that involve driving come with the requirement to screen the candidate’s driving record. The background check provider will check the details using your driver’s license. They’ll make sure your license is current and look for

a history of safe driving. Red flags commonly involve accidents and other incidents. It’s important to discuss these with your prospective employer, especially when it wasn’t your fault.

Reckless driving, drunk driving, and driving without a license are all red flags.

Credit report

A pre-employment background check can cover your credit history. Some jobs come with a great deal of financial responsibility. Financial institutions have insurance that doesn’t cover staff members with even minor issues on their credit reports. 

Employers will look for good financial habits if you have access to company funds. Credit reports include bankruptcy filings, but they don’t indicate the reason for the bankruptcy. There are quite a few valid reasons to file for bankruptcy, including emergencies, job loss, divorce, or overwhelming medical expenses. It’s always a good idea to explain your situation to your prospective employer. 

Employers can use your credit report to verify your personal information. Your credit rating is not affected by a credit check. Other red flags include felonies and misdemeanors, no matter how minor.