Michigan to Redact Date of Birth Information from Court Records, Potentially Impacting Delivery of Background Checks
The state of Michigan has several proposed amendments from the Michigan Supreme Court that will redact the Date of Birth (DOB) in court records effective January 1, 2022. Originally scheduled to be implemented on July 1, 2021, this extension gives employers time to further influence the Supreme Court and help take action against these rulings that have the potential to dramatically affect the hiring process in Michigan.
About the Amendments
ADM File No. 2020-26 will remove DOB from court records. Clerks will no longer be allowed to verify a DOB verbally on a court record or limit a search of their records using DOB. The information is as follows:
- Update to Rule 1.109, paragraph 10, subparagraph (a): “…The clerk of the court is required to redact protected personal identifying information before providing direct access to the document via the internet, such as through the court’s website.”
- Update to Rule 8.119, paragraph (H): “…If a public document prepared or issued by the court contains protected personal identifying information, the information must be redacted before it can be provided to the public, whether the document is provided via a paper or electronic copy, direct access via a publicly accessible computer at the courthouse, or direct access via the internet, such as on the court’s website…”
Why This Matters
- This ruling affects anyone in Michigan who has completed background checks on individuals who live or have ever lived in Michigan.
- During an employment background check, access to a full DOB is often a minimum requirement needed to confirm a record is a match to a job candidate.
- The Michigan State Court Administrator’s Office said courts would provide DOB verification on records if researchers provided a signed release form at the point of request. However, this option raises concerns for the screening industry as local public records researchers do not have access to these release forms.
- A standard authorization to obtain a consumer report may not satisfy a requirement to obtain consent to the court release of DOB. This uncertainty adds complexity to the process, greatly increasing processing costs and turnaround time.
Working on behalf of background screening firms like Corporate Screening and our customers, the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA) continues its efforts to stop these rules from going into effect. In June 2021, the PBSA sent a letter to the Michigan Supreme Court about the effect this amendment would have on both pre-employment and tenant screening.
How You Can Help
While the delayed implementation is considered a positive move, there is still a need to take action. The PBSA, in conjunction with its members (including Corporate Screening) is urging any organization who is hiring current or former Michigan residents to contact the Michigan Supreme Court and help spread awareness about this harmful rule and its effect on the background screening industry.
Michigan employers and residents will have delays in their background screening process as a result.
Please consider downloading this sample letter and sending it to pertinent officials in the state. As the background screening industry and Corporate Screening continue to stand up for our customers and your candidates, we appreciate your patience and participation in this urgent matter.