Criminal Background Check

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

On November 3, 2021, the Michigan House of Representatives passed House Bill 5368 (HB 5368) to prohibit the redaction of dates of birth (DOBs) from public records so background check firms may continue to report criminal records to employers and property managers. The bill now advances to the Michigan Senate for consideration.

“Millions of background checks are performed each year in Michigan by job providers and landlords who are looking out for the safety of their customers, residents, and the general public,” Michigan State Representative Graham Filler (R-District 93), who introduced HB 5368 on October 5, 2021, stated in a news release.

“When a background check is performed – especially on someone with a common name – comparing dates of birth is the best way to confirm the accuracy of the records. Restricting access to this information would be a mistake that jeopardizes public safety,” stated Filler, who is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

The bill is a response to an order adopted by the Michigan Supreme Court – ADM File No. 2020-26 – that would redact DOBs on public court records to prevent identity theft. Filler said the order – which is scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2022 – “would make it next to impossible for background check companies to do their jobs.”

Background check firms are regulated by the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which requires them to match certain personal identifiers – such as DOBs – to the background check subject. If identifiers cannot be matched, a report cannot be generated, and the proposed rule has raised concerns for Michigan employers.

Under HB 5368, personal identifying information (PII) such as the DOBs of criminal defendants must be included in court documents, but the documents would not include information about victims or witnesses in a court case. “Without this change, Michiganders will no longer be able to rely on accurate background checks,” Filler said.

The Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA) – a non-profit trade organization representing the background screening industry worldwide – urged the passing of HB 5368 because ADM File No. 2020-26 “would erect a barrier for Michiganders seeking housing, employment, or even to volunteer in their community.”

The PBSA will continue to strengthen the level of professionalism of background screening in the United States, according to leading global background check firm Employment Screening Resources® (ESR), which compiled the “ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends” for 2021 featuring emerging and influential trends in the industry.

ESR founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Attorney Lester Rosen was chair of the committee that founded the PBSA in 2003 when it was the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) before rebranding to a new name in 2019. That same year, Rosen received the PBSA Lifetime Achievement Award.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a founding member of the PBSA that was ranked the number one screening firm by HRO Today in 2020 – is accredited by the PBSA by successfully completing the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP). 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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