With our high standards for accuracy here at GroupOne Background Screening, our detective work can be difficult. So, we were pleased to learn about a proposed bill in California which could resolve the issue of redacted birth dates (DOB) and driver’s license numbers.

In a ruling last year in the California Court of Appeals case All of Us or None of Us. v. Hamrick, an individual’s DOB and driver’s license number could not be used as data identifying a criminal defendant in public records. The decision inspired many courts around the state to redact DOBs and driver’s license numbers from their indexes, causing routine background checks to be much more difficult to obtain.

Over the past several years, consumers have become more concerned with protecting access to their personal data. Now state courts, too, are placing limitations on how personal identifiable information is displayed and who can access it.

As a consumer reporting agency, we have historically relied on these court indexes to complete criminal background checks. This roadblock when verifying an individual’s criminal record based on personal identifiers such as DOBs and drivers’ license numbers has adversely impacted our turnaround times and ability to satisfy our standards of accuracy under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

While these roadblocks are well-meaning with a commendable goal of protecting consumer privacy, they’ve unintentionally made it more difficult to conduct background checks, which are used in the hiring process by 94% of businesses nationwide.

The proposed Senate Bill (SB) 1262 could potentially resolve this frustrating issue by requiring publicly accessible electronic criminal defendant indexes to permit the searching and filtering of results based on a defendant’s driver’s license number or DOB, or perhaps even both.

While SB 1262 is still pending, we will continue to carefully and legally review background checks. Employers should also follow the process of individualized assessment and notice required by state, federal, and local ordinances when assessing if an applicant should be disqualified from a position.