By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Blog

Patrons of nightclubs are usually prepared to have their driver’s licenses checked to prove they are old enough to drink, pay a cover charge, and adhere to a dress code, but undergo a background check?

According to an article posted on the Arizona Daily Star website, the Pearl Nightclub in Tucson, AZ is requiring some patrons to submit to a background check before they enter as part of beefed up security after the shooting death of a 21-year-old man in its parking lot in August.

Patrons that don’t meet the club’s dress code – which prohibits baggy clothing, athletic wear, flip-flops, work boots, or plain-colored T-shirts – are asked by security guards to submit to a background check search done online through the Arizona Judicial Branch’s website, the Daily Star reports.  People without recent felony convictions are issued a VIP card allowing them free admission that night and quicker entry on subsequent visits.

If a background check turns up a recent felony conviction they are not allowed in the club. Only men have been asked to submit to background checks so far, which take one minute or less, and around 10 people have been asked to leave the club after a background check turned up a recent felony conviction, according to the article.

However, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona was quoted in the article warning that the club needs to avoid the perception that it is targeting certain groups and that “there should be clearly defined standards for who gets searched to guard against discrimination.”

In addition, the Daily Star also reported that background checks conducted on the county’s Justice Court’s website are not foolproof for the following reasons:

  • The background check won’t turn up crimes a person has committed in another state or another country.
  • If a person commits a crime soon after being issued a VIP card by the club, the club’s security guards would not know unless they ran another background check.

Background checks are an effective method to promote a safe workplace, especially with the help of a professional background screening firm. To find such a firm, employers are advised to choose a background screening firm that is a member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS).

For more information on background checks and how to keep any workplace safer and secure, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at


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