The backbone of the background screening industry is criminal record checks at courthouses throughout the U.S. The screening industry has recently encountered multiple efforts to detract from the ability of consumer reporting agencies and courthouse researchers to provide accurate and up-to-date criminal records in a timely fashion.
The Consequences of Privacy
Michigan and California have decided to protect personally identifiable information (PII) including full dates of birth resulting in unintended consequences. The result is an inability to promptly obtain full dates of birth when conducting background screening just as millions of Americans are trying to go back to work.
There has been a significant impact in Los Angeles as the DOB has been removed from public access terminals and clerk assistance has been limited. Michigan conversely has been impacted statewide by a PII Redaction policy leading to extended turnaround times in the state.
Several politicians in California and Michigan have been speaking out against the problematic policy changes are working adamantly to defend the background check industry. According to an article in the Detroit News, Representative Graham Filler of Michigan explained in a recent House Judiciary Committee hearing that the redaction of birth dates on court records would create a “hell of a lot of collateral damage” in an effort to prevent access to information that can readily be found on the internet. “This will blow up the background check process in Michigan and will harm applicants and also employers,” said Filler.
How the Screening Industry is Challenging these Policies
The good news is that the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA) is making strides to alleviate this pain sooner than later. PBSA and its allies are working hard on multiple strategic paths to engage legislators and impress upon them the need to have full DOBs available. The background screening association is stressing the importance accurate background checks play in protecting workplaces and vulnerable populations.
True Hire is staying on top of all these concerns on a regular basis. Our experienced General Manager Kevin Horval is actively engaging on these issues as a PBSA volunteer to ensure True Hire’s clients are informed on the latest developments regarding the California and Michigan DOB redaction information.
Also, be sure to check out the PBSA website for updates. Until there is a resolution in these affected states, background screeners and hiring companies will need to decide on a case-by-case basis how to move forward with a candidate.
What You Can Do to Help
Employers willing to show their support for keeping birth dates on public records should contact Brent Smoyer who is currently serving as the PBSA State Government Relations and Grassroots Director. We also encourage employers and volunteer organizations to sign onto the MI petition to help keep everyone safe.