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National News

Michigan Supreme Court Ruling On Court Records Could Mean Doom To Background Checks

July 09, 2021 posted by Steve Brownstein

Hundreds of thousands of Michiganders who are looking for work could be facing new challenges in their job hunt.
Set to start in July but currently delayed, Michigan courts would no longer provide dates of birth when releasing their records.
“We have been doing public records retrievals now for close to 25 years, we provide a service to companies that are looking to hire,” said Lori Nidzgorski, co-owner of Records Retrieval Service.
Firms performing background checks are facing a new roadblock. The state Supreme Court is ordering dates of birth in court records to be redacted. As of July 1, Michigan will implement court rules removing dates of birth from court records.
The Professional Background Screening Association, representing more than 880 member companies, told the court about the chilling effect of the ruling. The association warned the ruling will likely cause a halt in hiring and rental housing placements in the state.
More than a mere inconvenience, the association says it threatens to adversely affect all rental housing and employment decisions in Michigan.
“People with common names or people with records, we’re not gonna be able to verify that information,” Nidzgorski said. “Common name like John Smith there might be 500 records there. You won’t know if any of them belong to him. No way to verify that.”
Access to a full date of birth is often a minimum requirement to confirm that a found record matches the job or housing candidate during a background check, practically rendering background checks impossible to perform.
“Yeah it’s gonna pretty much stop employers from doing background checks on their employees, future employees, potential employees,” Nidzgorski said. “It’s just not gonna be something they’re gonna be able to do.”
According to the National Association of Professional Background Screeners, 96 percent of employers conduct at least one type of screening during the hiring process.

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