Court Closures and Delays Due to Coronavirus May Affect Background Checks

Coronavirus News

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

Job seekers fortunate enough to find work during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic may have 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 background check expert.

The story described how a woman in Oakland, California, who “landed a position with a major health care company on their coronavirus communications team” was unable to start work because her employer could not complete a background check in time since some courthouses in the Bay Area had closed due to COVID-19.

“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, the founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of leading global background check firm Employment Screening Resources® (ESR), stated in the article.

But Rosen – author of “The Safe Hiring Manual” – added an important condition: “Employers should include in hiring paperwork a disclaimer that if they find anything in a background check that the candidate lied about or didn’t mention, the candidate could be fired,” The Mercury News reported.

“Rosen 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.”

Rosen also said that it is “possible that some employers will still choose to wait for a completed check to finalize a hire, particularly in fields like healthcare where that may be mandatory depending on the job.” The article by Leonardo Castaneda about Coronavirus affecting background checks due to court closures is available here.

Rosen was chairperson of the steering committee that founded the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA) – a nonprofit trade organization representing the screening industry formerly known as the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) – and served as the first co-chair.

The PBSA is actively tracking and gathering information related to COVID-19 as it relates to background screening that includes court closures and delays. The information is provided as general educational information only and is not intended as legal advice. To learn more, visit thepbsa.org/covid-19-resources/.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. As of April 14, 2020, there are more than 1.9 million total confirmed global cases causing more than 120,000 deaths, and the United States leads the world with more than 582,000 confirmed cases, according to research from Johns Hopkins University.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – which is accredited by the PBSA – is using best practices for background check processing during the Coronavirus crisis, which includes having its employees work remotely from home. To learn more about ESR, please 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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