The redaction of personally identifiable information (PII) during the
background screening process, particularly a candidate’s date of
birth, is not a new challenge in the court research industry. This has
been an ongoing obstacle for years, and many states, such as Virginia,
South Carolina, and Michigan, have adopted some kind of PII redaction
legislation. But what is happening in California, specifically L.A.
County, is different. California has its own set of unique challenges
that makes its recent DOB redaction ruling even more difficult to overcome.
While the solution outlined below is specific to L.A.
County, California, Equifax Workforce Solutions (EWS) provides court solutions
nationwide that help CRAs drive efficiency and cost savings. In
the case of L.A. County, EWS has designed a multi-dimensional solution
that makes the court research processes more efficient to help CRAs
get the information they need when they need it, which in turn
empowers employers to make more informed decisions as quickly as possible.
In May 2021, DOB redactions in California started with the
court ruling of All of Us or None vs Hamrick. Multiple jurisdictions
adopted this change, which caused significant complications in court
research processing in the state. In September 2022, there was a
glimmer of hope for CRAs through the California Senate Bill 1262,
which would help stop delays in background checks for job applicants
by allowing access to PII in court records. But by the end of that
month, Governor Newsom vetoed the bill, sending CRAs back to square one.
Before the DOB redaction ruling, California was already a
challenging state in which to conduct court research. It costs more to
process records than in other states, and turnaround times are longer
than in other jurisdictions. When added to existing national
challenges of inflation and labor shortages, DOB redaction is putting
CRAs at a severe disadvantage in processing court records for their customers.
With more and more counties in California moving to redact
PII from court records, the consequences are numerous: Court
research is yielding less reliable background checks, there are even
longer turnaround times which cause delays in hiring, and it is much
more costly to send court runners to obtain case copies in person.
To combat these multi-dimensional issues, a multi-dimensional
solution is crucial.
There is not a “one-size-fits-all” solution to DOB redaction
challenges, so to combat the issues related to costs, reliability,
delays, and extended turnaround times, EWS has created a
three-dimensional solution for the issues specific to L.A. County, CA,
that focuses on the following:
Smarter use of court record
retrieval automation featuring Statute Code
Translation: By way of Synaptec™, our
automated court record retrieval technology, there is already
automation in many California counties, but with the growing
challenges there is opportunity to expand and improve. Previously,
when using the Synaptec search function, the site would only
report back the statute code with no additional information. With
Statute Code Translation enhancements to Synaptec searches, the
automation provides more vital information from the source, like
charge levels and descriptions and offense level details. This
additional information allows for faster and more reliable hits
and clears, helping the CRA determine whether it makes sense to
send a runner to the courthouse. Anytime quick,
reliable hits and clears can get back to CRAs, the better to help
your customers get to a point where they can make faster, more
Expanding court operations with on-site case ID page
view and DOB confirmation
Courthouse clerks will not verify DOBs, so more often than
not, CRAs are obligated to obtain case copies, which can
take weeks and be very costly, or they have to validate
themselves by doing additional research, which takes more
time. EWS has strengthened on-site services
allowing for more volume and capacity for case copy processing and
calling courts directly, which ends up saving both time and
CourtSmart: CourtSmart™ is the
newest CDaaS (Court Data as a Service) solution that uses
information from TotalVerify’s proprietary, non-reportable data to
increase confidence in results to help minimize potential disputes
and reduce costs from not having to send on-site runners.
To add to the benefit of this new solution, CourtSmart is
not only used to inform decisions about conducting additional
court research, it can also help minimize the background check
challenges associated with common names if a CRA requests.
CourtSmart offers another level of detail to research findings, so
CRAs can help their customers make more informed decisions.
The decision to redact PII from court records was deployed
to keep people and data safe, but the court research industry was
already designed to protect individuals, the public, and
organizations. With the significant challenges brought on by court
record DOB redactions, a single path forward could never be enough.
The three-dimensional solution that the EWS team has created was
specifically designed to combat L.A. County DOB redaction
challenges. But as more states require innovative and cost-saving
solutions, EWS can provide tailored solutions based on your request
in order to aid in your state’s court research needs. Our CourtSmart
solution is expanding well beyond L.A. County. It is currently
available in 36 of the 58 counties in California, as well as
Arkansas, Georgia, Missouri, Ohio and Virginia, with more expansions
to come. We know our court research solutions will be able to give
you the results you and your customers need in less time and with
To learn more about these and other solutions, contact us today! To learn more about
data redaction, be sure to check out our recent court research webinar.
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