United States Postal Service (USPS) Background Checks: Everything You Need to Know

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10 May, 2024
Daniel Cohen
8 min
title of USPS in front of the packages

United States Postal Service employment background checks are not always accurate. Here’s what to do yours has an error.

United States Postal Service employees have a big job. They handle private information, drive trucks, and access our communities. To keep everyone safe, the USPS does background checks on candidates. But when errors show up in background checks, good candidates are denied jobs unfairly! If errors hurt your career, learn what to do and who can help.

Because United States Postal Service (USPS) employees handle people’s mail, have access to sensitive information, come into contact with the public, operate vehicles, and, in some situations, have access to people’s homes, the USPS takes hiring people who they and we can trust very seriously. To accomplish this, they run background checks on all potential hires. 

People applying for a job at or with the USPS inevitably have questions and concerns about those background checks. The background check attorneys at Consumer Attorneys also take background checks very seriously. More specifically, the background check attorneys at Consumer Attorneys work hard to ensure:

  • Any organization that conducts background checks of any kind adheres to all laws that govern background checks, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act. 
  • Anyone who is or will be the subject of a background check knows the scope and process of the background check and knows their rights regarding background checks. 
  • That the data culled during the background check is accurate. 
  • That the report prepared from the background check is accurate. 
  • That people know they can dispute any information in their background check report. 
  • That we can help them with that dispute.  

Keep reading to learn…

About USPS

The United States Postal Service (USPS) is an essential institution that handles millions of people's mail and package delivery needs nationwide. As a federal entity, USPS operates with a high level of trust and security. This means that its workforce of nearly 650,000 employees, and those who want to be employees, must undergo thorough background checks. 

The USPS operates with a mission rooted in the motto, "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." The USPS handles billions of mail pieces yearly, from personal letters to commercial packages. In fact, it is one of the country's largest employers. The USPS facilitates everyday communication and business transactions and is a vital link between people and businesses. 

USPS Background Check: What Is It?

Because the United States Postal Service is a government agency, it has a few unique rules when it comes to background checks. 

Does USPS Do Background Checks?

Yes, the USPS conducts background checks on potential employees to ensure the security and integrity of their operations. This process is standard practice to mitigate risks and uphold the USPS's reputation.

These checks cover a period of five years of residence, employment, or education in the U.S. or its territories. Individuals who have not lived in the United States for five years before applying to the USPS may be disqualified from employment though the USPS does make exceptions for U.S. citizens who were abroad as government employees, missionaries, students, Peace Corps volunteers, or employees of U.S. companies. 

Whose Background Does USPS Check?

The USPS performs background checks on every potential hire.

Who Does USPS Use for Background Checks?

The USPS employs third-party companies like HireRight, CNet, and Asurint Background Screening Solutions, Inc. to conduct background checks. Companies doing a background check for USPS examine local, state, and federal criminal databases and motor vehicle records.

For some potential hires being considered for specific jobs, the USPS may require a drug test and submit to ongoing drug testing.

Is It Safe for Me?

Yes, it's safe. The USPS companies comply with federal laws related to privacy and data handling, ensuring that your personal information is protected and used appropriately.

When Does USPS Do Background Checks?

The USPS usually does background checks after they make a conditional offer of employment to someone. They must also wait until the potential hire consents to the USPS to do the background check. This means you’ll likely go through the background check process just before officially being hired.

Can You Drive for USPS Without a Background Check?

No, driving for USPS requires a clean driving record and a thorough background check. This is crucial as drivers handle sensitive materials and operate government vehicles.

What Does USPS Look for in a Background Check?

Driving History

For positions involving driving, USPS looks at your driving history to ensure no serious offenses could impact your ability to operate a vehicle safely.

United States Postal Service (USPS) Criminal Background Check

The USPS criminal background check focuses on felony and misdemeanor convictions that could influence a candidate’s suitability for employment. Some things to keep in mind:

  • The USPS does not necessarily disqualify people with a criminal conviction.
  • The USPS does, however, take offenses related to theft, fraud, and violent behavior very seriously.
  • The USPS will review each criminal background check that reveals a criminal conviction individually, focusing on the candidate’s overarching suitability for employment.

How Far Back Do USPS Background Checks Go?

USPS background checks typically cover a seven-year history, though this can vary based on state laws and the nature of the position.

How Does USPS Interpret What It Finds in Background Checks?

USPS evaluates the results based on the relevance and severity of any findings. Minor traffic violations might not disqualify a candidate, but a history of serious offenses likely would.

Background Check USPS: How Long Does It Take?

Waiting for a background check can be challenging, so setting expectations is essential. Let's look at the USPS background check time and why delays might hppen.

How Long USPS Background Checks Usually Take?

Usually, a USPS background check takes about two to three weeks to complete, depending on factors such as the depth of the background required and the responsiveness of personal references.

Why Is USPS Background Check Taking So Long?

There are a few reasons why a USPS background check may take longer than a few days. 

Possible Reason 1

Delays in court systems or educational institutions responding to verification requests can extend the process.

Possible Reason 2

Incorrect or incomplete information the applicant provides can cause delays as additional time is needed to clarify the details.

Possible Reason 3

High volumes of background checks being processed simultaneously may lead to longer wait times.

Different Statuses of USPS Background Checks

The USPS will let you know the status of your background check.  

What Each USPS Background Check Status Means

Here’s what those USPS statuses mean. 

Status 1 - Pending

Your background check is still being processed.

Status 2 - Review

There may be issues that require further investigation.

Status 3 - Clear

Your background check has been completed successfully without disqualifying issues.

How to Check the Status of Your USPS Background Check

You can check the status by logging into the job portal where you applied or by contacting the USPS Human Resources Shared Service Center directly.

USPS Says My Background Check Needs Attention

This means there may be discrepancies or issues that require clarification. You should contact the provided number or email to discuss what specific information needs attention.

USPS Background Check Suspended. What It Means

This status typically means the process cannot proceed until additional information is provided or discrepancies are resolved. It doesn’t yet mean that you have a USPS failed background check.

United States Postal Service (USPS) Background Check Problems

Some problems might arise during the USPS background check. Here are some of the most common, including the USPS background check disqualifiers:

Why Am I Deactivated for My Background Check in USPS?

Being deactivated may happen if the USPS background check reveals disqualifying information that directly impacts your eligibility for the position for which you applied. This could include a failed USPS background check. 

How to Dispute USPS Rejected Background Check

Why You Should Dispute a Rejected Background Check

If your background check contains errors, disputing the results is essential and recommended to correct any inaccuracies. This could reverse the hiring decision. Depending on the source or the reason for the inaccuracy, this could save you problems related to future jobs that you apply for later.

Consumer Attorneys can help you with the dispute process and file a claim with USPS. See below for more info on the USPS dispute claim.

The Chances of USPS’s Decision Reversed

The chances of USPS reversing its adverse hiring decision can be pretty good if you can successfully dispute the background check errors. See below for more info.

Who Can Help You with Disputing?

The background check attorneys at Consumer Attorneys can help you in all aspects of the dispute process. We know the Fair Credit Reporting Act ( a critical federal law that provides an avenue for disputing inaccurate background check reports) and the relevant state laws that apply where you live. Additionally, if the background check company doesn’t fix its error, we can represent you in legal action against that company. We have decades of experience helping thousands of people and would be happy to help you, too.

Navigating the background check process can be a complex and intimidating process. There are procedures a person disputing their background check must follow. There are procedures that a background check company fielding a background check dispute must follow. An attorney can help you prepare your dispute, monitor the background check company’s response, and take action if the background check company doesn’t follow the rules. Unfortunately, this is a real problem for people disputing errors- inadequate investigations and shoddy responses.

If your disputed errors don’t get corrected within 30 days, or if you get a response stating that the disputed data is correct as it stands, a background check lawyer from Consumer Attorneys can file a lawsuit on your behalf. We hold background check companies accountable and get you the compensation you deserve for the damage that the error in your background check report caused you.

Those damages can be significant: lost wages, emotional damage, damage to your mental well-being, and reputational damage. The legal system provides ways to recover from entities that have hurt you - whether it’s a car accident or an inaccurate background check. An attorney can help you file a lawsuit, gather evidence, be your advocate, negotiate on your behalf, and support you through everything. Can you sue the USPS? Yes. But most times, a USPS dispute claim is with the background check company.

Let us know if you’ve ever been denied a job at the United States Postal Service due to a background check or if you have ever seen an error in a background check report. Call the consumer protection attorneys at 1-877-615-1725. Email us at [email protected]. Or visit our website and chat with a representative.

Tell us your story. We will listen and then help you determine what your next steps should be to get you the compensation you deserve fo someone’s else’s error.


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About the author
Daniel Cohen
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Daniel Cohen is the Founder of Consumer Attorneys. Daniel manages the firm’s branding, marketing, client intake and business development efforts. Since 2017, he is a member of the National Association of Consumer Advocates and the National Consumer Law Center. Mr. Cohen is a nationally-recognized practitioner of consumer protection law. He has a wealth of proven legal experience in the US in: collective claims, representing visually impaired people who believe their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act have been violated in both the physical and digital environments, corporate governance and dispute resolution. Read more

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