(a) A law enforcement agency shall conduct a thorough background investigation on an applicant for employment as a licensed peace officer or an applicant for a position leading to employment as a licensed peace officer before the applicant may be employed. The background investigation must determine at a minimum whether the candidate meets the following standards:
(1) standards established by the Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training; and
(2) established security standards for access to state and national computerized record and communication systems.
(b) This requirement does not prevent a law enforcement agency from establishing higher standards for law enforcement employees if those standards are not contrary to applicable law.
Upon request of a law enforcement agency, an employer shall disclose or otherwise make available for inspection employment information of an employee or former employee who is the subject of an investigation under subdivision 1. The request for disclosure of employment information must be in writing, must be accompanied by an original authorization and release signed by the employee or former employee, and must be signed by a sworn peace officer or other authorized representative of the law enforcement agency conducting the background investigation.
If an employer refuses to disclose employment information in accordance with this section, upon request the district court may issue an ex parte order directing the disclosure of the employment information. The request must be made by a sworn peace officer from the law enforcement agency conducting the background investigation and must include a copy of the original request for disclosure made upon the employer or former employer and the authorization and release signed by the employee or former employee. The request must be signed by the peace officer requesting the order and an attorney representing the state or the political subdivision on whose behalf the background investigation is being conducted. It is not necessary for the request or the order to be filed with the court administrator. Failure to comply with the court order subjects the person who fails to comply to civil or criminal contempt of court.
In the absence of fraud or malice, an employer is immune from civil liability for employment information released to a law enforcement agency under this section, or for any subsequent publication made by the employee or former employee of employment information released to a law enforcement agency under this section.
Upon initiation of a background investigation under this section, the law enforcement agency shall give written notice to the Peace Officer Standards and Training Board of:
(1) the candidate's full name and date of birth; and
(2) the candidate's peace officer license number, if known.
The initiation of a background investigation does not include the submission of an application for employment. Initiation of a background investigation occurs when the law enforcement agency begins its determination of whether an applicant meets the agency's standards for employment as a law enforcement employee.
If employment information is subject to a confidentiality agreement between the employee or former employee and the employer, the employer shall disclose the fact that such an agreement exists. If the employee or former employee has authorized the release of employment information without regard to any previous agreement to the contrary, the employer shall also disclose the employment information in accordance with subdivision 2. If employment information is sealed or otherwise subject to a nondisclosure order by a court of competent jurisdiction, the employer shall disclose the fact that such an order exists, along with information identifying the court and court's file number.
For purposes of this section, "employment information" means written information in connection with job applications, performance evaluations, attendance records, disciplinary actions, and eligibility for rehire.
For purposes of this section, "employer" does not include an entity that is subject to chapter 13.