White Paper

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) has issued a white paper entitled “What Employers Need to Know About Instant Clears” written by ESR founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Attorney Lester Rosen to reveal potential problems with “instant clears” that more quickly deliver a criminal result when the search is clear.

“The idea is great in theory: a screening firm searches a database, online court system, or another source of instant information, and if a name is absent, the employer should be able to conclude that there is no criminal record to find. However, as the old saying goes, ‘the devil is in the details,’” Rosen writes in the white paper.

“The potential problem with ‘instant clears’ is the quality of the underlying data. If the data being used is not complete, accurate, and up to date, there is the possibility that employers could base critical decisions on inferior information,” Rosen explains, before listing issues reported when using online databases for “instant clears”:

  • The online criminal results are not the same as the public access terminal results.
  • Cases available online prior to a certain date are not included.
  • The online system is new and has issues with missing information.
  • Uncertainty over how far the online system goes back or how often it is updated.
  • Only limited information is provided or some cases could not be converted to online format.

“The good news for employers is that, as time goes by, county court systems and technology will likely continue to improve and become more accurate as new data is entered. It is probably just a matter of time before ‘instant clears’ become a more powerful and dependable tool,” Rosen concludes in the white paper.

Rosen is the author of “The Safe Hiring Manual,” a comprehensive guide to background screening. He was the chairperson of the steering committee that founded the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA) in 2003 and received the PBSA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019. To download the white paper, click here.

The ESR White Paper Library contains more than 20 complimentary white papers written by experts from the ESR Leadership Team on a variety of subjects such as “Ban the Box” laws, criminal records, and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). To learn more, visit www.esrcheck.com/Tools-Resources/Whitepaper-Library/.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global background check provider ranked the number one screening firm by HRO Today in 2020 – offers employers criminal records searches that provide primary source information that can legally be used in hiring decisions. 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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