“Level 1” and “Level 2” background checks are terms that can be used generally or specifically. In some situations, someone might use these terms generally, as a way to denote different tiers of background checks. Usually, though, the best way to answer the “What is a Level 2 background check?” query is to point to Florida’s state background screening system.
The Florida Statutes define Level 1 and Level 2 background checks and use the terms to dictate what types of screenings employers must conduct. A Level 1 background check is a less in-depth screening that would include a state-only name-based background check, an employment history verification search, local county criminal searches, and sex offender registry checks. A Level 1 check, in other words, is a fairly basic background screening strategy.
A Level 2 background check, meanwhile, would be more in depth. Level 2 checks typically include fingerprint-based searches of records maintained by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, national FBI criminal history searches, and county criminal record searches through local courts or law enforcement agencies.
Florida requires employers to conduct Level 2 screenings for positions that involve significant levels of trust or responsibility. Examples include jobs that involve working with children, elderly persons, or other vulnerable populations. The Florida Statutes section on Level 2 background checks also provides a lengthy list of disqualifying offenses, including sexual misconduct, kidnapping, murder, manslaughter, incest, and virtually any charge involving minors or the elderly. If a Level 2 background check returns conviction data in any of these categories, the employer cannot hire the candidate in question.
So, what is a Level 2 background check? The most specific and concrete definition applies only to Florida. The details discussed above do not apply to other states, nor do they apply to national, FBI, or multi-jurisdictional checks. Only Florida uses these definitions as discussed here, and only Florida employees are required to abide by the rules laid forth in the Florida Statutes.