Navigating Date of Birth Redactions in California: Impact on Background Checks

February 26, 2024
Checkr Editor

As privacy becomes an increasingly important issue, certain state and county courts have taken steps to redact select personally identifiable information (PII) from public records. This trend is already being observed in select state and county jurisdictions in Michigan and California

In May 2021, a California Court of Appeal (Riverside) decided that California Rules of Court, Rule 2.507 requires the redaction of an individual's full date of birth (DOB) and driver’s license (DL) number in public records. This decision prompted some courts across California to redact this information from online databases and public-access terminals in courthouses. 

In August of the same year, Los Angeles County removed the day of month from the date of birth in criminal case records, making it more burdensome for court researchers to make an accurate match of candidate PII to those on case records. Month and year of birth were not removed.

Starting February 23, 2024, the Superior Court of Los Angeles County no longer includes the month and year of birth in its criminal name search engines, for both courthouse kiosks and the court's website. With less information publicly available, the background check process can take more time to complete to ensure an accurate report. It is important to note that since this date of birth removal is at the court level, it impacts all background check providers, not just Checkr. 

How DOB redaction impacts background check turnaround times

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) forbids consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) from associating information with individuals based only on a name match. Because public court records do not include Social Security numbers, background screening companies often use DOB to match a record with an individual. As a result, restrictions on DOB information can make it more difficult to accurately match criminal records to a specific job applicant or employee.

Following this February 23, 2024 change, when there is a possible match (a “hit”) between an individual and a court record in Los Angeles County, a court researcher is dispatched to the courthouse to request copies of case records or speak to a court clerk to manually confirm the DOB. Additionally, there is a court-set limit of five records a researcher can review per day. When you consider this scenario in a county with a population of over 10 million, you can see how significant the delays may become.

How Checkr is addressing this change

We understand the importance of efficient and accurate background checks and we’re moving quickly to minimize the negative effects of the court’s decision on your time-to-hire. 

Checkr is actively educating policy makers at the state and local level on the negative realities of this upcoming implementation and severe detrimental impacts implementation will have on present and former Los Angeles County residents seeking work, housing, or undergoing routine background checks. While Checkr is pursuing solutioning with the courts, it is unlikely that the decision will be reversed at this time. 

We are also actively engaging with courthouses and data providers to better understand new processes, so we can launch innovative solutions that enhance efficiency in light of this change. Our teams are also working on potential product solutions to improve turnaround times. 

Considerations for employers

Even if your business isn’t located in California, your background check process may be impacted when screening a job candidate who lives or formerly lived in Los Angeles County. Requesting aliases and middle names from candidates and current employees can help background check providers distinguish between otherwise identical names, especially for individuals with common names.

Checkr is ready to help

We’re likely to continue seeing laws put in place to protect personal identifiable information, which ultimately affects all background check providers. We are actively monitoring the changing landscape and feel confident in our ability to adapt so that we continue to provide the highest level of accuracy and quality for our customers.

We are committed to keeping you informed on this change and how it impacts your background check process. Current Checkr customers can review our date of birth redaction FAQ page for additional information or contact our support team to discuss solutions specific to your account.


The resources and information provided here are for educational and informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Always consult your own counsel for up-to-date legal advice and guidance related to your practices, needs, and compliance with applicable laws.

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