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Massachusetts Employment Background Check Laws

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Employers that are either located in Massachusetts or hiring Massachusetts residents must abide by the Federal FCRA, and they should consider the following state laws. For more information on Massachusetts state laws, please visit the state legislature.

Background check laws in MA:

Section 62 Denial of credit or employment, etc. because of adverse credit information; disclosures to consumer

Section 62. (a) Whenever credit or insurance for personal, family or household purposes, or employment involving a consumer is denied or terminated or the charge for such credit or insurance is increased either wholly or partly or whenever a consumer’s line of credit is reduced, except when the consumer is delinquent with regard to such line of credit, because of information contained in a consumer report from a consumer reporting agency, the user of the consumer report shall, within ten business days of its decision to deny or terminate such credit, insurance or employment, or to increase the charge for such credit or insurance, or to reduce a consumer’s line of credit, except when the consumer is delinquent with regard to such line of credit, notify such consumer in writing against whom such adverse action has been taken. Said notice shall be in a clear and conspicuous format, no smaller than ten point type, and shall contain the name, address, and toll-free telephone number of any consumer reporting agency which provided any consumer report which was reviewed or otherwise taken into account in the making of such adverse action and shall inform the consumer of his rights […].

In other words:

If a job applicant is denied employment because of information found in the applicant’s credit information, the employer must notify the applicant in writing within 10 days of her or his adverse decision. The notice must be in 10-point type or larger and must include the name, physical address and toll-free phone number of the CRA. The adverse notice must also include specific language informing the applicant of her or his rights.

M.G.L. Chapter 93, Section 52 – Information not to be contained in report; exceptions

Except as authorized under subsection (b) no consumer reporting agency shall make any consumer report containing any of the following items of information:

In other words:

Credit reporting agencies in Massachusetts cannot report on criminal records that are older than 7 years, nor can they report on information about an applicant’s bankruptcy if the date of judgment is more than 14 years old. However, these provisions do not apply if the consumer report is used in connection with: (1) a credit transaction that involves or is expected to involve $50,000 or more; or (2) a life insurance policy of $50,000 or more.

803 CMR 2.00-2.28: Criminal Offender Record Information

Employers obtaining criminal offender record information from Massachusetts' Department of Criminal Justice Information Services have additional responsibilities under CORI law. 

803 CMR 2.15: Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) Policy Requirement for Certain Requestors

(1) Any employer or governmental licensing agency that annually conducts five or more criminal background investigations, whether CORI is obtained from DCJIS or any other source, shall maintain a written CORI policy, which must meet the minimum standards of the DCJIS model CORI policy

In other words:

Employers who receive criminal offender record information from DJCIS must meet special obligations under CORI reform legislation. You can find these requirements here: http://www.mass.gov/eopss/docs/chsb/803-cmr-2-00-criminal-offender-record-information-cori.pdf

Any employer that performs 5 or more background checks per year in Massachusetts must have a written criminal record information policy in place. This policy must be shared with applicants who request it. 



 How to Dispute Your Records: 

Criminal Records:

If you find that your criminal records are incorrect or incomplete and you would like to take action, you should contact the specific jurisdiction in which the records were originally filed. Feel free to take a look at some of these resources for more information:

Obtain a copy of your criminal record by mailing this form or ordering online.

Massachusetts Incorrect Criminal Offender Information Complaint

Civil Records:

All of the following are included in civil records: judgments, liens, evictions, family and small claims cases. If you would like to dispute a record, contact the court in which the record was filed.

List of all courts in Massachusetts and their contact information

Contact State Law Officials

Administrative Office of the District Court 
Edward W. Brooke Courthouse
24 New Chardon Street, First Floor
Boston, MA 02114-4703
Phone: (617)788-8810Fax: (617)788-8985
TTY: (617)788-8809


National Laws and Resources

In order to set a standard around hiring policies, the federal government has created the Fair Credit Reporting Act or FCRA to monitor and protect both employers and job seekers. With this law, individuals are protected from unfair workplace discrimination and data breaches of their private, sensitive information. Interested in learning more? Check out GoodHire’s 10-step process for legally obtaining background reports. Be sure to read the official FCRA full text or summary legal document for more details.

Find any court in the USA: Court Locator Tool http://www.uscourts.gov/court_locator/CourtLocatorSearch.aspx

GoodHire tries to update and correct the information provided for this state regularly, but we cannot make the guarantee that everything is fully up-to-date. Laws and regulations change often. This information is not meant to be used as legal advice, solicitation, or advertising. We always recommend speaking to a lawyer before taking any legal action. Please contact us if you find something that is incorrect or out-of-date on our site.

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