Today we have a special report for you regarding a change in court rules that will affect any employer trying to hire someone who’s ever lived or worked in the state of Michigan.
Starting on January 1st of 2022, Michigan courts will no longer provide dates of birth on criminal records. The Michigan Supreme Court recently pushed that starting date back from July 1st of this year after intense push-back. According to the Michigan Administrator of Courts, the change was made to protect those in the system from identity theft. Unfortunately, without birthdates, it will be nearly impossible for accurate background checks to be conducted.
Ninety-four percent of employers conduct background checks before on-boarding new employees. In many industries, like healthcare, education, finance, and government, screening is required by law. The most comprehensive type of background check searches criminal records in every jurisdiction where an applicant has lived or worked.
Background screeners like EBI, carefully review any criminal record to ensure it actually belongs to the person applying for the position. For example, let’s say you run a daycare center and you have an applicant named Jon Smith who once lived in Lansing, Michigan. You run your background screen and an assault and battery conviction comes up. There are a lot of John Smiths living in the state. How do you confirm THIS is the John Smith who wants to work for you?
In other jurisdictions, screeners are able to compare the birthdate on Mr. Smith’s job application with the birthdate of the man convicted of the crime. If they don’t match, you know it’s not your guy. But without that confirmation – a couple of things could happen. Either you don’t report the conviction and the employer hires a possible threat to their business, or you report it, and an innocent man loses a job opportunity for the crimes of another.
This one change has the potential to bring hiring within the state to a standstill, and in today’s world of remote work, could also cause issues for employers across the country.
According to Melissa Sorenson, executive director of the Professional Background Screening Association, “It’s going to be a tremendous mess. Background checks will — best case scenario — be significantly delayed. More likely is that they will come to a complete halt.”
Over the coming weeks, SNN will be bringing you an in-depth video series on how the Michigan rule change affects, employers, applicants, and the screening industry as a whole.
In the meantime, if you have any questions, reach out to your account manager.
Thanks for watching.
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.