In an alarming move for both background screeners and their clients across the U.S., a proposed amendment from the Michigan Supreme Court will redact the Date of Birth (DOB) in court records. Michigan is expected to implement the court rules and remove DOB from records on July 1, 2021.

The Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA) immediately issued a call to action to members. GroupOne Background Screening has been a long-standing member of PBSA – non-profit trade organization representing background screening companies worldwide – for over a decade.

Access to a full DOB for background screeners is often a minimum requirement to confirm a record as a match to a job candidate.

“This policy will severely impact the completion of pre-employment background reports that contain county criminal history from Michigan,” said Danny Davila, GroupOne’s director of FCRA regulatory risk and consumer compliance. “This action will lead to increased barriers to employment for people who are residents or former residents of Michigan.”

The PBSA has asked members with clients in Michigan or who conduct background checks on individuals in Michigan to contact the Michigan Supreme Court with this communication and distribution list.

The Michigan State Court Administrator’s Office said that courts could provide DOB verification if researchers provided a signed release form. PBSA said such an option is problematic for background screeners because many local researchers cannot directly access release forms.

“A standard authorization to obtain a consumer report may not satisfy a requirement to obtain consent to the courts’ release of DOB,” said Davila. “It would be difficult to be consistent with this process and could potentially increase processing costs and turnaround times. DOBs in public records are essential as we help employers ensure a safe working environment.”

On June 9, PBSA sent a letter to the Michigan Supreme Court detailing the affect such an amendment would have: “Background checks are a critical component of the employment and rental process. Employers, property managers, and consumers alike depend on our members to search public records to determine whether a particular record belongs to a candidate being considered for employment or housing.”