Changes to Expungement of Criminal Records Continues to Challenge; Opines

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Potential change to criminal record expungement laws in Michigan and Minnesota could eventually affect the entire country, and hiring managers should take immediate note. Adam Almeida, President and CEO of opines: “Any change to the legality of criminal records used in pre-employment background screening could have a critical impact, and hiring managers should continue to utilize a well-qualified third-party background screening agency, such as, in order to remain compliant with law and policy.”

Criminal Background Checks Include County, Statewide, Multi-State and National Criminal Background Checks

Criminal Background Records

Whenever broad legal actions occur like laws regarding expungement of criminal records hiring managers should take note and ensure compliance with all pre-employment background screening.

Legislators in Michigan and Minnesota are working toward changing and/or updating expungement laws in order to allow greater access to gainful employment for a larger percentage of the working age population. Additionally any change in law affecting pre-employment background screening should immediately alert all hiring managers and HR departments. Adam Almeida, President and CEO of opines: “Any potential change in law governing the use of criminal history records should force employers to ensure their policies are fully compliant with law, and a best practice remains to work with a well-qualified third-party background agency, such as

Michigan legislators are seeking to make expungement of certain criminal records an automatic process, as a means to allow greater opportunity for employment.

From the Alpena News on October 1, 2020:

For many Michiganders, a criminal record stands between them and the ability to earn a good living.
Michigan is on track to become the first state to automatically expunge criminal records of certain misdemeanor and low-level felony convictions, if Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signs bills approved by the Legislature last week.

The bill package would greatly expand the number of people who can have their record expunged — made invisible to the public while still accessible to courts and police. For many, that expungement would happen automatically, without the need for a lengthy court process or mountain of paperwork. (1)

Almeida adds: “It is key to note that this type of automatic expungement in Michigan will only occur with certain criminal background records, primarily non-violent crimes.”

Specifically, in Michigan, the expungement law is related to marijuana convictions.

From on September 25, 2020:

…people with misdemeanor marijuana convictions to clear the offenses sooner if they would not have been considered crimes after voters' legalization of marijuana in 2018. They could start applying 180 days after the law is enacted-- late March or early April.

Judges would be required to assume that past marijuana convictions would not have been violations unless a prosecutor responds within 60 days of the expungement application being filed. The evidentiary burden would rest on the prosecutor. (2)

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison is seeking to ease expungement as well.

From on October 2, 2020:

Attorney General Keith Ellison is launching a new program that will allow prosecutors to assist Minnesotans in expunging their criminal records at no cost…He says without an expungement, people who have satisfied all the terms of their sentence for a crime can have trouble getting good jobs, education or housing. (3)

Almeida concludes: “Whenever broad legal actions occur, such as those regarding expungement of criminal records in Minnesota and Michigan, hiring managers should take note and ensure compliance with all pre-employment background screening, and a best practice remains to work with a well-qualified third-party background screening agency.” is a third-party employment screening company, an advocate of SHRM, a member in good standing with the PBSA (Professional Background Screening Association) and for over 17 years has maintained an A+ Rating with the BBB (Better Business Bureau). The company has highly trained operators well versed in the needs and requirements of companies and organizations large and small utilizing public records, such as criminal background records, as part of a hiring process. Assisting companies in maintaining full compliance under the law is a central tenet of all client relationships with


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