For months we have been urging employers to jump into the fight over the removal of dates of birth on Michigan criminal records. If you haven’t, we have new information that just might be enough to spur you into action.
The Michigan Supreme Court made the decision to remove all dates of birth from the state’s county criminal records in an effort to protect people in the system from identity theft. Instead, they want background screeners to utilize their new statewide system called ICHAT.
EBI VP of Compliance, Curt Schwall says this change is going to cause big problems when it comes to completing background checks for employers. “Statewide systems aren’t built for case management, and so from the moment a case starts, there are docket entries at the County Court and that allows us to get real-time information.”
When you don’t get that real-time information, you miss pending cases and outstanding warrants.
EBI and another consumer reporting agency decided to do a little research on the Michigan ICHAT system to see what would happen if it was the only resource available. The investigation looked at 372 outstanding warrants or pending cases that were found using a traditional county criminal records search. The records included a long list of charges – things an employer would want to see on a pre-employment background check. Then, researchers ran the same search through just the ICHAT system. Ninety-three percent of the time, the statewide system missed warrants and pending cases – and these were for serious crimes like embezzlement, resisting arrest, cruelty to animals, assault with a dangerous weapon, carjacking, receiving stolen property, and more.
“If we are forced to go to the Michigan system as the sole means to do a background check in Michigan, that’s going to create very unique and awful risk exposures for employers,” says Schwall. “There’s impact to employers in increasing their risk of a bad hire. There’s risks to the Michigan economy. You think about all of the regulated positions that are filled in Michigan through government contracts, through government employment, through with statutory requirements for the background check process. How are these people going to be cleared for jobs? “
And, as we’ve said before, this affects employers all across the country – not just those physically in Michigan. “Even though a job may be in another state, they may have previously resided in the state of Michigan. And so, the watered-down data that will become available in Michigan will increase risks to employers nationwide.”
The new rule removing dates of birth is scheduled to go into effect on January 1st, 2022, but a bill to strike down the move has passed the State House and is up for a vote in the Senate on November 30th.
If you live in Michigan, reach out to your state lawmakers and the governor’s office to tell them not to handcuff background screeners and put employers at risk. Everyone else – no matter where you live — is urged to sign the Professional Background Screeners Association petition. You can find it by clicking the link in this post. We hope you all have a great Thanksgiving week! We’ll see you soon.
Jennifer Gladstone is a news anchor and journalist with more than 20 years of experience in front of the camera. She's worked in several markets, large and small, and has performed nearly every task needed in a newsroom. As EBI’s Screening News Editor, she keeps EBI’s customers and blog subscribers up to date on the latest screening news and legislative alerts affecting companies of all sizes.