Accuracy & Use of Public Information

Posted on: August 24th, 2017 by admin

Did you know that much of the criminal arrest information is not allowed to be used for employment purposes? An arrest, or multiples, with dispositions of not guilty, dismissed or withdrawn are not allowed to be used by or reported to a potential employer. This includes full time, part time, contractors and volunteers.

Even use of criminal convictions often have limitations – many civil service (federal & state) rules require the employer to consider such factors as the age at the time, how long ago it occurred, how one has been rehabilitated and the crime’s relation to the job applied for. (Vandalism as a teen doesn’t mean theft as an adult)

More states and federal agencies are considering limiting what offenses are reportable. However, the major issue has always been if you lie and get caught – you’ve then committed fraud on the application. This is enough to be removed from a civil service list or a private employer’s consideration.

To further complicate the use of “public records”, many repositories (Federal, State, and County Agencies) have been removing personal identifiers (date of birth, social security number and home address). This lack of data makes it very difficult to “verify” who the record really belongs to. The number of people in the United States with the same name and date of birth is staggering. Many of these have lived in the same area, at least at some point.

The access to public records through the internet has both citizens and businesses looking up every type of data one can imagine. Often it’s exciting, even shocking, to see the results of your search. When a photo, address or other identifiers are present, it may be easy to know it’s your target. Without clear evidence, you may have someone else.

Two cautions are warranted. The first is the true identity of the party. The second is the use of the information. While anyone is entitled to “public records”, there are strict rules governing its use for employment, insurance, licensing, volunteers and credit to list a few.

Before you make statements or accusations, much less use derogatory data, make sure you are accurate and legal. & FCRA websites detail allowance use and purposes.

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