Will Background Checks Show Records Incurred At Protests?​

June 30, 2020
Employers can plan ahead and determine how they will consider records that applicants incurred while attending protests.
Backgrounds Online | June 30, 2020


Employers can plan ahead and determine how they will consider records that applicants incurred while attending protests.

Arrested While Protesting

2020 is a year of massive civil unrest. Millions of people have taken to the streets following the death of George Floyd and others. Arrests occurred during situations that involved violence and looting ... and at peaceful protests people attended to add their voice to a growing movement.

In many cases, individuals who were arrested during peaceful protests will likely have their charges dismissed. However, some may incur records that could be included on consumer reports. Employers will need to determine how to deal with this scenario.

Non-Convictions Versus Pending Charges

One thing for employers to consider is the difference between non-convictions and pending charges.

A non-conviction occurs when a person is arrested and charged but their case is later dismissed or the individual is found not guilty. There could be various reasons for such an outcome, including a lack of sufficient evidence to warrant a conviction, the District Attorney concluding a case was not worth pursing or an agreement being reached by all parties.

Pending records occur when a person is arrested and the outcome has yet to be finalized. Until these cases go through the court system, there is no way to know if a defendant will be convicted of any crime.

The Backgrounds Online Approach

At Backgrounds Online, we do not report non-convictions. They won’t be included on any background check we compile. However, these records could be available through other sources including public records websites.

Pending charges are included in background reports that are produced by our team. When this happens, we make it clear that no outcome was reached as of the date the report was completed. Our clients can request updates as they become available. It is important to note, however, that due to pandemic-related court closures, it could take a while for rulings to be made on many arrest cases.

Considerations For Employers

Employers can assess all reportable records when reviewing potential employees, contractors or volunteers. In the near future, hiring managers may consider applicants who have criminal records that occurred following arrests at public protests.

Now might be a good time for employers to discuss their hiring/screening policies and how they will handle protest-related convictions. Numerous second chance laws ask employers to conduct assessments of potentially adverse records found within consumer reports. This includes gauging whether an offense is relevant to the position and if the applicant creates an undue risk to the business, staff or public.

When reviewing or updating your policies, it is recommended to consult with legal counsel. They can help ensure these policies are compliant with current federal, state and local laws where you operate.

Running Background Checks

Backgrounds Online provides background check reports that help employers build strong teams and demonstrate due diligence. When you’re ready to screen candidates or employees, please contact us. We’ll help you customize comprehensive screening packages based on your specific needs.

Our experienced, knowledgeable team continues to work remotely. We’re available to answer questions and assist you Monday through Friday from 7am to 6pm PT.