Federal FCRA regulations state that inquiring about past convictions or imprisonment is prohibited and will not be justified by business necessity, UNLESS:
Conviction or imprisonment occurred within the last seven years; OR
Conviction or imprisonment reasonably related to job duties
Federal FCRA regulations state that inquiring about arrests must include inquiry as to whether charges are still pending, have been dismissed, or led to conviction of a crime involving behavior that would adversely affect job performance, and the arrest occurred within the last seven years.
State requirements for background checks vary in terms of what industry, what sources of information must be checked, which job positions require background checks, and what types of convictions prohibit employment.
State level FCRA rules restrict reporting periods for convictions, limit arrest reporting, and can even remove restrictions based on annual wage data for the applicant.