Last year, the California Court of Appeal ruled in All of Us or None of Us. v. Hamrick that an individual’s date of birth and driver’s license number could not be used as data identifying a criminal defendant in public records. Based on that decision, many courts around the state redacted birth dates and driver’s license numbers from their indexes, causing routine background checks to be much more difficult to obtain. Consumer reporting agencies have historically relied on these court indexes to complete criminal background checks in California. The inability to verify an individual’s criminal record based on personal identifiers such as date of birth and a driver’s license number has adversely impacted these agencies’ ability to satisfy the accuracy of report requirements under the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the like.
A proposed bill, Senate Bill (SB) 1262 may resolve the issue by requiring publicly accessible electronic criminal defendant indexes to permit searching and filtering of results based on a defendant’s driver’s license number or date of birth, or both.
While SB 1262 is pending in the legislature, employers should carefully review background checks and continue to follow the process of individualized assessment and notice required by state, federal, and local ordinances when assessing if an employee or applicant should be disqualified from a position.
If you have questions about employment criminal background checks or related issues, please contact a Jackson Lewis attorney to discuss.