Criminal background checks for employment purposes are legal in Wisconsin. Unlike most states, Wisconsin employers are restricted from considering arrests which have not lead to a conviction, except if the charges are pending. A Wisconsin employer may rightfully decide to not hire an applicant if a pending charge is directly related to the position being offered. Other special circumstances permit an employer to not hire an applicant due to their criminal history (see § 111.335). Otherwise, the employer should not disqualify an applicant from consideration based on their criminal record.
The Department of Justice allows the general public to access criminal record information using the Wisconsin Online Record Check System. Review the guide below to find out how you can access the system and conduct your criminal background check.
Cost – $7
Step 1 – Authorization Form
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) prohibits any third-party agency from conducting a background check on an individual without their consent. If you’ve employed the services of a third-party consumer reporting agency, ensure that the subject has provided their consent by filling out a Background Check Authorization Form.
Step 2 – Access WORCS
Go to the Department of Justice’s Wisconsin Online Record Check System (WORCS) and locate the menu displayed in the image below.
From the options available within the menu, select Public Access followed by Submit Request.
Review the security warning to understand the conditions of the WORCS search portal. If you agree to the conditions, select the small checkbox and click Continue.
Step 3 – Subject Information
Click on the “Background Request Type” drop-down menu to change the request type to “General”. Next, enter in the empty spaces the personal information of the subject. The information that’s required is as follows:
- Last name
- First name
- Middle initial (optional)
- Date of birth
- SSN (optional)
If you know of any aliases that the subject might use, select ADD AN ALIAS and enter the last name, first name, middle initial, gender, race, and date of birth of the alias.
You can specify a WiUPIN (Wisconsin Unique Personal Identification Number) by clicking ADD WIUPIN and entering the number in the empty field.
After supplying all of the necessary subject information, click CONTINUE to proceed with the background check.
Step 4 – Payment
A review of the processing fee will be presented on the following page ($7 per record check). Click SUBMIT PAYMENT to proceed.
The next step is to provide payment for the $7 processing fee. For the purposes of this tutorial, we have chosen the Pay Without Registering option found below the “Log In” button.
Enter the following information in the empty fields to provide the requisite contact details:
- First name
- Last name
- Company (optional)
- Address 1
- Phone number
- Email address
Below “Payment Method,” use the drop-down menu to indicate your preferred method of payment. Once indicated, enter your credit/debit card or banking information. Click Continue to proceed and navigate through the subsequent pages to complete the background check.
Step 5 – Await Results
At this point, your criminal background check will have been submitted to the Department of Justice for processing. The results of the check may be challenged by the subject. If the subject wishes to do so, they can submit the Record Challenge Form to the following address: Crime Information Bureau, P.O. Box 2718, Madison, WI 53701-2718. Any criminal record questions that you have can be forwarded to CIBCriminalHistory@doj.state.wi.us.