September 3rd, 2021
Benefits of utilizing a PBSA Accredited background screener, include, but are not limited to, understanding and following laws (local, state, and federal), and compliance management.
We receive questions all the time from customers stating, “you reported no findings when I know my candidate has a felony/misdemeanor!”
This is an incredibly challenging conversation for any service provider, namely for our Customer Support team. Our first resource is always the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Everything we do must comply with the requirements and guidelines set in FCRA. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (or “FCRA”) was enacted to promote the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of consumer information contained in the files of consumer reporting agencies (you can read more about it here).
We have a responsibility as CRA’s to follow “reasonable procedures” when conducting, reviewing, finalizing our searches to ensure the accuracy of the reports we build for our customers. Reasonable procedures under FCRA are loosely defined, but there are guardrails that CRA’s implement in their processes to maintain this threshold of “reasonable procedures”.
Back to the initial issue, “you reported no findings when I know my candidate has a felony/misdemeanor!”
Often times a consumer will disclose information about records that may not be permissible under state and federal employment law. Ensure you’re complying with state and local Ban-the-Box laws!
Have the records in question have been sealed or expunged?
Are the records older than 7 years?
The state or county may not make criminal convictions public or are recent and the conviction hasn’t been released as an accesible public record. Court runners or subscription access to county court records may be required.
The case arising from the arrest was abandoned, vacated, or dismissed
The arrest did not result in a conviction
Did you use Google or Bing to do your own research (no!!!!!!!!).
There may not be enough public information available or provided by the court to adequately match with your candidate; middle name, *date of birth*, complete address, etc.
We highlight the date of birth for a reason. The state of Michigan and Los Angeles County, California are taking unprecedented steps to remove the full date of birth access to Consumer Reporting Agencies and other interested parties. Because of common names, loose matching algorithms, and FCRA, CRA’s are being denied critical identifying characteristics of consumers for record matching purposes. Again, “reasonable procedures” include matching information to a consumer’s person in order to provide records to an employer.
As of August 20, 2021, Los Angeles County has issued a new policy, under which clerks will NOT verify full date of birth. This announcement limits access to month and year of birth on the record. It should be noted that as of August 24, 2021, clerks are still verifying date of birth in person at the remaining jurisdictions listed above. However, the processes that they are using are causing severe delays – over 30 days in some courts. No background screener can avoid this problem.
The state of Michigan is taking a very similar approach that will also impact our ability to provide a thorough report and provide timely report delivery for and to our customers. Michigan deferred the redaction of the date of birth until January 2022 over the deep concern by employers and CRA’s.
If your CRA is having difficulty with timeliness in Los Angeles, CA now or in Michigan next year, you know why. At ClearChecks, we strive to complete all reports in under 48 hours. Often times this cannot be achieved because of policies at certain courthouses throughout the country. Keep in touch with our Customer Support team. They will provide you with ETA’s and will follow up with our court runners and Investigations team to ensure we get the searches completed timely. We will always provide you with human support, not a bot or automated email. Accuracy matters. Timeliness matters. You matter.
Please visit our Help Center for answers to more questions. Our Sales and Customer Support team are available and ready to assist.
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