Coronavirus Delaying Some Background Checks in San Francisco Bay Area

Coronavirus News

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

Some people who found work at a time of record-setting job losses have had trouble starting their new jobs because the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic “has caused background checks to be delayed at some local courts, including San Francisco’s,” according to a report from the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Chronicle reported that one person who received a job offer at a health care company months ago was “frustrated” at being unable to begin work because the third-party company processing his background check was unable to get the information needed from the San Francisco Superior Court.

The worker – whose name was not used under the Chronicle’s anonymous sources policy so as not to jeopardize current or future employment – worried “about how many other people may be caught in a similar situation who don’t have the privilege of being employed while waiting for the court to process background checks again.”

The Chronicle reported a San Francisco Superior Court spokesman stated the court would be restoring some services previously unavailable because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic starting on Monday, June 2, 2020. “Criminal records searchable by case name and a person’s first and last name are available online.”

The spokesman told The Chronicle: “Prior to the closure of the Criminal Clerk’s Office, firms who perform background checks could go to the office and look through our case index to see if applicants had any prior criminal history. This service never ceased, as a request can be submitted via U.S. mail.”

The Chronicle also reported that the San Francisco Superior Court spokesman stated that “while some court records were available online, they are limited to a person’s first and last name and did not always provide the detail necessary for his company to determine a person’s criminal record, or lack of one.”

The Chronicle article also examined the different approaches to Coronavirus taken by other Bay Area courts such as the Napa County Superior Court, the Contra Costa County Superior Court, the Santa Clara County Superior Court, the Marin County Superior Court, and the Alameda County Superior Court.

Bay area job seekers fortunate enough to find work during the coronavirus pandemic have had to wait to start their job due to court closures and delays that may affect their employment background checks, according to a report from The Mercury News that interviewed a local background check expert.

“An employment expert who conducts background checks said online databases of criminal records aren’t always thorough enough. In addition, because some courthouses don’t have all their records online, many routine background checks require a trip to the courthouse,” The Mercury News reported.

“Go ahead and do as much as they can do, make the best decisions they can based on available information because the courts are closed,” Attorney Lester Rosen, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of San Francisco-area background check firm Employment Screening Resources® (ESR), stated in the article.

Rosen – author of The Safe Hiring Manual – “added that shuttered courthouses aren’t the only potential roadblock for new hires. Even verifying past employment has become more challenging when companies are closed, or when the person with access to employee files is off-site or working on a more urgent problem.”

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. As of June 4, 2020, there are approximately 6.5 million global cases and 386,000 global deaths, while the United States leads the world with approximately 1.8 million cases and 107,000 deaths, according to research from Johns Hopkins University.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global background check provider – uses best practices during the coronavirus crisis, offers a whitepaper about background checks in the coronavirus age, and blogs about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. To learn more about ESR, visit www.esrcheck.com.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

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