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Supreme Court Amends Rule; Background Checks Should Continue Without Delay

Advocacy News – December 7, 2021

After months of back and forth, the Michigan Supreme Court adopted an amendment to its personal identifying information (PII) court rule impacting background checks.

As previously reported, the court rule, which was slated to go into effect on January 1, 2022, would have required Michigan courts to redact all personal identifying information (PII) from public records.  In doing so, the Supreme Court would have effectively eliminated the ability of professional background screening companies to conduct background checks for businesses across Michigan.  Ninety-four percent of employers conduct background checks and, in many instances, are required to do so under state and federal law.

Without this fix by the Supreme Court (or legislation doing so), employers and other businesses would have lacked the most up-to-date and accurate information available for employment, housing and other decisions.

The Supreme Court’s amendment creates a new “authorized user” approach to gaining access to PII in court records.  This approach attempts to balance the need to protect individuals’ identities with the need of background companies to gain access to records to verify someone’s identity.  The court rule will now go into effect on April 1, 2022.

The legislation the Michigan Chamber was seeking to fix this issue is now on hold.  There are some remaining issues to work out as it relates to “non-consent uses” for court records and access to them and we will continue to discuss solutions to those issues with the court.  We remain hopeful that the legislation will be unnecessary altogether.

If your company is experiencing significant delays in receiving timely background checks, please let us know.  The Supreme Court seems willing to work with local courts on these issues as they pop up.

Please contact Wendy Block with questions at