Background Checks: Database v. Primary Court Information

Many employers that run background checks assume the information they receive is valid. Unfortunately, they sometimes receive inaccurate reports of criminal activity on an applicant that leads them not to hire that individual.

Database searches rarely have adequate identifiers or up-to-date information to verify the accuracy of a record. If a man were arrested on a felony charge, it could be months before a database search reflected that the charges were subsequently dropped. If he were to apply for a job and be disqualified based upon charges that were ultimately dropped, it could mean greater entanglement with the EEOC, which already views hiring decisions based on arrests suspiciously.

To avoid having to deal with a legal battle, whenever an employer or consumer reporting agency runs a database search, they should follow up on any records found through a primary court search. This can be done via the Internet, or by walking into the court clerk’s office and ordering records. The courts will have the most accurate and up-to-date information.