Obtaining Criminal History Record Information for Employment/Licensing

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Document provided by the Georgia Crime Information Center

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What Georgia criminal history record information is available for employment or licensing purposes?

 

Georgia criminal history record information, except for sealed records, is available for employment or licensing purposes.  Sealed records include juvenile records, expunged records, and most sentences successfully completed under the First Offender Act.  Georgia law authorizes release of completed first offender records for specific offenses when conducting pre-employment criminal history record checks for particular job fields, e.g. working with children, persons who are mentally disabled or the elderly.

 

The Georgia criminal history record includes the subject's identification data (name, date of birth, social security number, sex, race, height, weight, etc.), arrest data (including arresting agency, date of arrest and charges), final judicial disposition data submitted by a court, prosecutor or other criminal justice agency and custodial information, if the offender was incarcerated in a Georgia correctional facility.

 

What is required to obtain Georgia criminal history record information for employment or licensing purposes?

 

Obtaining Georgia criminal history record information for employment or licensing purposes requires signed consent of the individual.  An individual gives consent by signing a consent form, or providing his or her fingerprints on a GCIC approved submission method.

 

Without signed consent, only Georgia felony conviction information is available.  This information is available only from local law enforcement agencies.

 

Is a separate signed consent form required when submitting fingerprints for employment or licensing purposes?

 

The Georgia Crime Information Center (GCIC) does not require a separate signed consent form when submitting fingerprints for employment or licensing purposes.  However, an employing/licensing agency may require signed consent from the individual for the agency’s own retention and purposes.  GCIC recommends employing/licensing agencies have individuals sign an Acknowledgement Form to ensure they understand that fingerprints are necessary for the purpose of a criminal history record check and the results will help determine suitability for employment or licensing.  Refer to the GAPS Applicant Waiver under Registration on the website’s main menu .

 

Can Georgia criminal history record information be obtained for employment or licensing purposes without submitting fingerprints?

 

Georgia criminal history record information, based on a search of name and descriptive data only, is obtainable from local law enforcement agencies providing this service.  Please contact local law enforcement agencies directly for information on agency specific requirements and fees.

 

Agencies should understand that when obtaining criminal history record information using the individual’s identification data (name, sex, race and date of birth), it is possible that the information returned belongs to a different person with the same, or similar, identifiers.

 

GCIC will only provide criminal history record information based on an individual’s fingerprints because when conducting a fingerprint search the information returned does in fact, belong to the individual.

 

How is Georgia criminal history record information obtained from GCIC for employment or licensing purposes?

 

Agencies/businesses must have a unique agency identifying number assigned by either the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or GCIC.  Governmental agencies authorized to conduct FBI record checks will receive a FBI assigned ORI (Originating Agency Identifier) number.  All other governmental and nongovernmental agencies will receive a GCIC assigned OAC (Originating Agency Code) number.

 

Agencies/businesses must sign a GCIC Service Agreement and Awareness Statement regarding terms and conditions of access as well as use and dissemination of Georgia criminal history record information.  Please contact GCIC Criminal History/Identification Services at 404-244-2639, Option 2 for further information on ORI/OAC numbers and the Service Agreement.

 

What national (FBI) criminal history record information is available for employment or licensing purposes?

 

Under federal regulations and Georgia law, certain businesses, organizations, licensing boards and state and local governments have the authority to obtain criminal history record information maintained by the FBI for employment or licensing purposes.


Before the FBI will provide criminal history record information, the following standards known as “Public Law 92-544 statutes” must be in effect:

 

  • There must be a state statute authorizing access of the FBI criminal history file
  • The state statute must specifically call for the use of FBI records
  • The request must not violate public policy and comply with all state requirements
  • The request can not be overly broad in scope, but must identify the specific category of employment or licensing
  • The applicant must be fingerprinted

 

Access to FBI criminal history record information is subject to numerous restrictive laws and regulations.  Dissemination of criminal history record information to entities outside the requesting organization or agency is prohibited and a violation of law.

 

Authorized FBI criminal history record checks are conducted by submitting the applicant’s fingerprints to GCIC for both a state and FBI record check.

 

Refer to the FBI Approved FP List for the current Georgia “92-544” statutes.  The list can be found under General Information on the website’s main  menu .

 

 Can private agencies or entities receive national (FBI) criminal history record information for employment or licensing

 purposes?

 

Private agencies or entities are not entitled to receive national criminal history record information for employment or licensing purposes.  In addition, authorized governmental agencies may not disseminate national criminal history records to private agencies or entities unless there is an approved Outsourcing Standard.  For more information on the Outsourcing Standard and requirements, contact GCIC at 404-270-8403.

 

What information is available under the National Child Protection Act (NCPA) and Volunteers for Children Act (VCA)?

 

A 2005 amendment to Georgia law authorizes the exchange of national criminal history record information on providers of care to children, the elderly and persons with disabilities, including but not limited to, volunteers with youth sports organizations and other youth activities.

 

This amendment authorizes and facilitates, but does not require, the exchange of national criminal history record information with authorized agencies on behalf of qualified entities as authorized under federal law.  An “authorized agency” means any local government agency designated to report, receive or disseminate information under the NCPA or VCA.  A “qualified entity” means a business or organization whether public, private, for profit, not for profit, or volunteer that provides care or care placement services, including a business or organization that licenses or certifies others to provide care or care placement services.


An authorized agency is responsible for designating qualified entities within its local jurisdiction and submitting national criminal history record checks as authorized under the NCPA and VCA.  An authorized agency, other than a criminal justice agency as defined in O.C.G.A. § 35-3-30, must request an ORI from the FBI for the express purpose of submitting national criminal history record checks under this code section.  Requests for an ORI must be in writing to the FBI through GCIC.

 

Requests for national criminal history record checks must be fingerprint based and submitted to the GCIC for a state and FBI records check. 

 

A complete state criminal history response may be provided directly to the qualified entity; however, federal law and regulations DO NOT permit the qualified entity access to the national criminal history record.  Therefore, the authorized agency is responsible for reviewing the national criminal history record to make a fitness determination of the applicant or volunteer based on the national record.  Only the final fitness determination decision, and not the national criminal history record, may be provided to the qualified entity.

 

Can local law enforcement agencies provide national (FBI) criminal history record information for employment or licensing purposes?

 

Local law enforcement agencies have no legal authority to request or provide national criminal history record information to non-criminal justice governmental agencies OR any private entity for employment or licensing purposes.

 

Can national criminal history record information be obtained directly from the FBI for employment or licensing purposes?

 

The United States Department of Justice Order 556-73 establishes rules and regulations for the subject of a FBI criminal history record to obtain a copy of his or her own record for personal review, or to challenge information on the record.  An individual may also request a copy of his or her FBI criminal history record to satisfy a requirement to live or work in a foreign country, or for an international adoption.  This process is not for an employment or licensing background check.  The FBI has authority to conduct a criminal history record check for non-criminal justice purposes based on Public Law 92-544.  More information on the United States Department of Justice Order 556-73 is available at http://www.fbi.gov/hq/cjisd/fprequest.htm .

 

What must occur if the results of a criminal history record check cause an adverse employment or licensing decision?

 

If the results of a criminal history record check (state or national) cause an adverse employment or licensing decision the individual, business or agency making the adverse decision must inform the person of all information pertinent to that decision.  This disclosure must include information that a criminal history record check was conducted, the specific contents of the record and the affect the record had on the decision.  Failure to provide all such information to the person subject to the adverse employment or licensing decision is a misdemeanor offense under Georgia law.

 

Can an individual obtain a copy of his or her Georgia or national (FBI) criminal history record?

 

Georgia criminal history records are obtainable from local law enforcement agencies providing this service.  The individual should contact local law enforcement agencies directly for information on agency specific requirements and fees. 

 

The United States Department of Justice Order 556-73 establishes rules and regulations for the subject of an FBI criminal history record to obtain a copy of his or her own record for personal review or to challenge information on the record.  An individual may also request a copy of his or her FBI criminal history record to satisfy a requirement to live or work in a foreign country, or for an international adoption.  More information on the United States Department of Justice Order 556-73 is available at http://www.fbi.gov/hq/cjisd/fprequest.htm .

 

What should an individual do if his or her Georgia or national (FBI) criminal history record contains an error or needs updating?

 

The GCIC does not have authority to modify a state criminal history record without appropriate documentation and/or authorization of the submitting criminal justice agency.  If an individual wishes to challenge the accuracy of his or her Georgia criminal history record, they should contact GCIC at 404-244-2639, Option 2 for requirements and assistance.

 

An individual may challenge the information contained in the FBI criminal history record by contacting the original agency that submitted the information to the FBI or the state central repository in the state where the arrest occurred.  These agencies will be able to furnish guidelines for correcting the record.  The FBI does not have authority to modify the record without written notification from the appropriate criminal justice agency.