Restraining orders are meant to protect victims of domestic abuse, stalking, or harassment by limiting contact with their abusers. If you have had a restraining order filed against you, a logical question is – will this show up in a background check?
At Global Investigations, we provide accurate and legally compliant background checks. Here’s a look at how restraining orders may or may not appear in a background screening.
What is Included in a Background Check?
To understand if restraining orders appear in background checks, you need to know what information is typically included. Standard background checks contain:
- Identity verification – Confirming your name, date of birth, current and past addresses.
- Social security number validation – Verifying the number provided belongs to you.
- Criminal history – Felonies, misdemeanours, infractions. Arrests may also be listed.
- Sex offender registry check – Checking national and state registries.
- Driving records – Any DMV records like licences held and driving offences.
- Employment verification – Confirming past jobs held and employment dates.
- Education verification – Checking claimed degrees and vocational certifications.
- Credit history – Personal bankruptcies, foreclosures, loan defaults.
- Professional/licence verification – Checking status of claimed professional credentials.
Restraining orders are legal court orders but do not fall under the criminal history category. They are also not related to the other standard checks like employment, education, or finances.
When Restraining Orders May Appear
While not routinely part of a background check, restraining orders could potentially show up under certain circumstances:
- If there is an active arrest warrant related to violation of the restraining order. This would appear in the criminal records section.
- If the screening is an extended identity check. These may include civil litigation records like restraining orders.
- For background checks for jobs requiring security clearances. These delve deeper into all court and police records.
- If the restraining order led to criminal charges like assault or stalking that resulted in a conviction.
- If the applicant discloses the restraining order to explain gaps in employment history or a criminal record.
How Restraining Orders Can Impact Background Checks
Even if a restraining order does not directly appear in a background check, it can still influence the results:
- It may lead to termination from a previous job, which could require explanation during employment verification.
- If violated, it can potentially trigger an arrest or conviction that would appear in the criminal record section.
- It suggests a history of violence, stalking, or threatening behaviour that employers may view as a red flag.
- The underlying behaviour that led to the restraining order, even without charges, may concern employers.
Mitigating Risks of Restraining Orders in Background Checks
If you have a restraining order on your record, here are some tips to help reduce risks during pre-employment screening:
- Be upfront if asked about past arrests, convictions, or terminations – explain the context and outcome honestly.
- Have court documents handy to provide more details if needed.
- Get any active warrants cleared up immediately.
- If violations occurred, take accountability and emphasise the lessons you learned.
- Highlight positive steps you’ve taken since like counselling or anger management training.
- Note any glowing references from more recent employers.
- Consult an attorney if concerned about disclosing details.
For Legally Compliant Background Checks, Choose Global Investigations
At Global Investigations, we provide legally compliant background checks tailored to employer needs while protecting applicant rights. Contact us to learn more about our services or get professional advice if you have specific concerns about items that may appear in your background screening results. Our experts are happy to help you put your best foot forward.