Unprecedented Times: Courts Remain Closed or “Kind-Of Open”

As an employer focused on the health of your employees and the continued success of your business, you’ve no doubt made a lot of pretty big adjustments to the way you do things. COVID-19 has presented challenges like we’ve never seen before.

Here at A-Check, we’ve been working via remote workforce to meet your needs without interruption, while at the same time navigating widespread court closures that have limited our access to documents and information.

As you already know, we continue to see impact in areas that have been hit hardest by COVID-19—like California and New Jersey. In NJ for example, some public access terminals have been removed, and court clerks are experiencing overwhelming call volume from field researchers requesting updates.

Courts are also working hard to meet the need

In spite of ongoing uncertainty and pandemic spikes, courts across the country have been doing their best to safely reopen wherever and whenever possible. This is great news for A-Check Global and other consumer reporting agencies trying to assist our customer requests.

During this time, many criminal record checks have been fulfilled through electronic court research, and we’ve provided results with little, if any delay. That said, in-person research has continued to be challenging in some courts. Limitations understandably continue to create longer turnaround times:

  • Courts are implementing CDC health guidelines. And while that is great for the safety of employees and visitors, that safety often means reduced capacity—often limited to just a few researchers within the building at a time—and longer turnaround time within courts.
  • Some courts have either removed or limited the access to public-facing terminals, limiting researcher access to information.
  • Some courts are requiring visitor/researcher appointments during specific times and days, or are limiting the amount of time any researcher can spend using public-facing terminals.
  • And, courts who offer personal service are now working with a substantial backlog of information requests that need to be fulfilled before getting to newer requests.

We’re here to help keep your requests moving forward, and will do everything we can to that end. Within our client-facing portal, we include a daily listing of court closures/delays to keep you informed, but are happy to answer any questions you may have about your criminal record requests. Please feel free to reach out to us at support@acheckglobal.com. Your business means the world to us, and we look forward to meeting your needs.

Compliance Clips for July 2020


New Zealand: New Privacy Bill Effective December 1, 2020
New Zealand’s parliament recently passed a modern version of privacy bill to replace the previous New Zealand Privacy Act. The bill is a new legal framework for the protection of information, including the introduction of a mandatory data breach notification. It received unanimous support in the parliament, and the bill—known as the New Zealand Privacy Act 2020—will become effective on December 1, 2020. This bill seeks to increase New Zealanders’ confidence that their personal information is secure and will be treated properly.

South Africa: New Privacy Law Now Effective
South Africa’s privacy law known as the Protection of Personal Information Act, 2013 (the POPIA) becomes effective July 1, 2020, providing detailed legislation supporting right to privacy. The POPIA provides for a general information protection mechanism applicable to organizations in both the public and private sectors. Similar to EU’s GDPR, POPIA establishes specific conditions for lawful processing of data.

Happy Birthday, GDPR
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) recently turned two years old, and we’ve all learned a thing or two about preparing for, and complying with evolving data security legislation. GDPR has also done much to elevate overall focus on privacy compliance.


A Reminder: Compliance with Form I-9 and E-Verify Requirements in Light of COVID-19
While we shared this information previously, there has been an additional update in light of ongoing COVID-19 efforts. The in-person requirement for the Form I-9 is temporarily suspended if your company is closed or taking other precautions due to COVID-19. The general rule is that an employer must undertake a physical inspection of the document(s) presented by the employee for section 2 purposes. UPDATE: Because of ongoing COVID-19 precautions, it has been announced that remote I-9 document review has been extended for another 30 days; the original exemption was set to expire June 18, 2020. The government has suspended the in-person and physical inspection of the document(s) presented by the employee when completing the Form I-9. During this time, an employer can view the document(s) presented by the employee via Zoom or Skype, for example.


Virginia: New Legislation Decriminalizes Simple Marijuana Possession
Now effective as of July 1, 2020, Virginia legislation decriminalizes possession, and prohibits employers from requiring applicants to disclose information related to past criminal possession charges.

Arizona: Growing Support for Marijuana Legalization Ballot Measure
Is Arizona next? In a survey of likely voters, about two-thirds showed support for placing a marijuana legalization initiative on the ballot this November. In the poll, which was conducted from May 18-22, the legalization initiative was positioned as a measure making it legal for adults 21 and older to purchase and possess cannabis and also impose taxes on legal sales. 400 respondents were asked if they would vote yes or no on the proposal.

AS A REMINDER: At A-Check, we’re happy to help implement a drug screening program that meets your evolving needs—or make adjustments to the program you’re already running with us. Just give us a call at 877-345-2021 and ask to speak with someone on your Client Relations team.


St. Louis, Missouri: Ban the Box Legislation Passes
Beginning January 1, 2021, employers with ten or more employees, located within the City of St. Louis will be prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history on the employment application. Once the law takes effect, employers may not base a hiring or promotional decision on the criminal history, or sentence, of an applicant unless 1) the history is found to be reasonably related to, or bearing upon, the duties and responsibilities of the position; and 2) the employer can demonstrate that the decision is based on all available information.

Suffolk County, New York: Ban the Box Legislation Passes
Suffolk County soon will follow the trend of other state and local governments enacting “ban the box” legislation. The Suffolk County, New York, Legislature has passed the “Fair Employment Screening Amendment,” prohibiting the County or any other employer having at least 15 employees from asking job applicants about their prior criminal convictions until after the first interview. The Amendment will go into effect on August 25, 2020.


Maryland: Upcoming Prohibition Against Wage History Inquiries
Maryland employers, get ready for new employment laws: Prohibition against facial recognition technology, salary history ban, and more. With regard to salary history ban, employers in Maryland should assess their hiring processes to ensure they do not request wage history information from applicants once the new law goes into effect on October 1, 2020.  Additionally, employers should ensure that applicants who request wage range information for the position to which they are applying are able to obtain such information once the new law is in effect.

Questions? We’re here to help!