How You Can Help Protect Safe Hiring Practices in California

Background screening companies are dealing with an industry-wide issue that’s become especially problematic in the past 6 months as California counties have taken steps to remove identifiers from their publicly accessible criminal records indexes.

Because we have strong systems in place to manage turnaround times and data accuracy, we have been able to minimize the impact to our clients in vast majority of county level searches in the state of California.

When a candidate has no records​, we are still able to return many of these searches well within 1 business day.

However, if there are potential records that require clerk involvement to attain additional identifiers, we can expect estimated turnaround times in counties like Sacramento, Santa Clara, and San Joaquin to exceed 10 business days. Note: This redaction applies to publicly available electronic records, such as online databases, and access terminals inside the courthouses. We are still able to attain identifiers via the clerks – but this can extend turnaround times.

We have been working closely with the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA) to support the reinstatement of dates of birth and driver’s license numbers on public record platforms in California. We believe that making these identifiers available by subscription to professional screening companies is an excellent solution.

Further, there are those in the California Assembly who are actively seeking to make background checks in California ILLEGAL all together.

PBSA has been working with Senator Bradford of the California State Senate for the last several months regarding SB 1262, which would remedy the date of birth access issue we have faced in California over the last year.

You can find a synopsis of the entire issue and the work PBSA and its allies have done thus far here: https://thepbsa.org/government-relations/california-dob-redaction-information1/

The bill has advanced from committee to the Assembly floor for a final vote – tentatively scheduled for the week of Monday, August 8 – but has seen extensive opposition by those who want to eliminate background checks in California.  This has become an all-hands-on-deck situation to impress upon Assembly members the importance of this legislation.

OUR ASK OF YOU: We need engagement from our clients who hire and employ people in California or complete background checks on individuals who live or have lived in California. 

The phone numbers for Assembly members can be found here: https://www.assembly.ca.gov/assemblymembers

Here are Bullet Points for Assembly Phone Calls:

Start by introducing yourself and your company, and the fact that you are calling to support Senate Bill 1262. You don’t need to read out these bullet points literally – it is usually better to understand them, then speak from your own experience.

  • SB 1262 is vital for ensuring Californians are hired quickly by restoring identifiers to court records.
  • Without access to basic identifying information (such as date of birth in this case) on court records, we may be unable get a background check.
  • If we can’t get a background check, we may be unable to hire the applicant.
  • The fact that Latin or Hispanic names are more concentrated around fewer common names means that people with those names will be disproportionately harmed by the inability to get a background check.
  • Often state and federal regulations require verification of criminal history for some positions. If SB 1262 does not pass, we may be legally barred from hiring California residents for those positions.

–     We would request Assemblymember____________ support California workers and businesses by voting “Yes” in favor of SB 1262.

*** If necessary, you can also respond to the criticism of the bill – either proactively or in response to questions from the legislator’s office. ***

  • Opponents say that background screening prevents re-entry of former prisoners into society. But cutting off access to identifiers in court records means that some people can’t get a satisfactory background check because they share a name with someone with criminal history would exclude them from the specific position. There are better methods of addressing this concern than cutting off access to identifiers in court records. For example, other legislation in this session allows broader expungement of criminal records in a way that balances the concerns in play.
  • Opponents emphasize how background checks can keep people out of jobs. But every employer in California is required by state law to consider the relationship between the specific criminal history and the duties of the job before taking action based on the criminal history. No one has a rule that forever excludes all people with criminal history.
  • Opponents say that SB 1262 is unnecessary as California Department of Justice (DOJ) checks are adequate. This is entirely false.

o   By law, the vast majority of employers cannot use the DOJ process.  Users of DOJ checks must be statutorily authorized, and most employers are not.

o   The DOJ process requires job applicants to have fingerprints taken – for a whole host of reasons, this is not an efficient nor a reasonable ask of applicants who may not have the time or ability to get to a fingerprinting location.

  • Opponents say that SB 1262 conflicts with California’s ban-the-box laws. This is not true. Those laws are written to allow a responsible, inclusive, and fair background-check process at the right time in the hiring process.
  • Opponents say that SB 1262 newly expands access to private information. This is not true. SB 1262 is not an expansion of access, but a return to the rules that businesses have operated under in California for decades.

Pick up the phone and make that call today! Let’s get SB 1262 passed so we can continue to help you hire safely and quickly in California.

Please let us know if you have any questions, concerns or would like to schedule a call for a more in-depth review of the situation: (888) 509-1979

Know Before You Hire

About the Author
Matthew J. Rodgers

Matthew J. Rodgers

Matthew J. Rodgers is a highly accomplished business executive with over 30 years of experience providing strategic vision and leadership to companies ranging from the fortune 500 to iprospectcheck, a company which he co-founded over a decade ago. Matthew is a valued consultant who is dedicated to helping companies create and implement efficient, cost effective and compliant employment screening programs. Matt has been a member of the Professional Background Screeners Association since 2009 . When not focused on iprospectcheck, he can be found spending time with his family, fly fishing, or occasionally running the wild rivers of the American west. A lifetime member of American Whitewater, Matt is passionate about protecting and restoring America’s whitewater rivers.