Criminal Background Checks in New Jersey
September 21, 2007
I found an article on NorthJersey.com about the importance of conducting a background check on new employees and I thought it would be a good idea to discuss criminal background checks in the state of New Jersey. Of course, I agree that it is a good practice to conduct background checks wherever you are located however, I believe that employers also need to know what type of information they can obtain.
In the state of New Jersey’s case, did you know that misdemeanor convictions are not made publicly available in the Upper Courts? Therefore a standard criminal background check in the Upper Court in this state will not include such convictions. You can still get felonies, but misdemeanors are not provided. Misdemeanors convictions are maintained in the municipal courts, but since there are so many of these courts, you would have to check all of them to identify any criminal records. Therefore, the only realistic way to research misdemeanor convictions is to know that they exist and in what court they were prosecuted.
This wouldn’t cause me to tell employers to abandon their screening practices when hiring in this state, it’s just important to have all the facts. I don’t know why the state has done this, but I strongly disagree with the policy. It makes the process that much more difficult for employers that want to evaluate such convictions before making an informed hiring decision.