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submissions of finger prints for background checks

Discussion in 'Criminal Procedure, Criminal Court' started by tsubo, Oct 31, 2001.

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  1. tsubo

    tsubo Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hello:

    I have a question pertaining to a citizens right to refuse finger printing during a back ground check. This is in reference to the Child Protection Act of 1993 which enables "qualified entities" (or basically any company that deals with children or the elderly) to request a complete background check and criminal history of each employee, prospective employee, volunteer, or otherwise in proximity to children or elderly.

    Now, I agree that persons that are in direct contact with children or the elderly should be subject to background checks and criminal history reports for the sake of protecting our children. The issue I am debating is the need for fingerprinting an individual before this background check is performed. I don't believe it is necessary to document a fingerprint when a legal name, SSN, and birthdate (or birth certificate) can be provided as identifiers in lieu of biometric identification.

    As in my case, I do not have a criminal history, do not have a fingerprint onfile (other than a baby print) and do not intend to be databased along side other criminally identified people.

    I have read through the article 943.0542 of the Florida Statutes concerning the Child Protection Act of 1993 and privious sections pertaining to the DOJ in Florida. It does not indicate that a finger print is critical to performing the background check or criminal history, as well, it states that should a person commit an illegal act, they will be fingerprinted and the file sent to various agencies affiliated with the DOJ. As also stated: the fingerprint is the "basis of the criminal history".

    I gather from this, that criminals are fingerprinted and their file is distributed to any agency that requests it. I am not a criminal, nor do I have anything to hide. However, my finger print is mine and I believe I have to do something to protect it.

    Basically, I don't see a need for them to create a criminal history in their database. I see more as a means for the government to catalog people under the guise of "protecting our children".

    What are your opinions on the necessity subjecting law-abiding citizens to biometric identification for the expressed purpose of databasing and creating a criminal record (even though it may contain no charges... the record will be created)?

    I have made known my agreement to the background checks and criminal history (if any) retrieval of my employer. And I have demonstrated that I am not trying to hide anything, and am willing to submit my SSN card and birth certificate to authenticate my identity for the purposes of a background check. I think this is sufficient. As previously noted, I do not have any fingerprint onfile with any agency, and therefore, comparing a current finger print will not link me to any other aliases. Basically it is a superfluous act that only serves to database me as a citizen.

    Can my employer fire me because I refuse fingerprinting, even though I give expressed consent to the background checks they are wanting?

    Tsubo
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  2. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    I'm hoping that we aren't assuming too much here... is your employer demanding that you voluntarily allow yourself to be fingerprinted? If so, is it a federal agency or is this a private company?

    On a side note, I might be comfortable with my fingerprints being available in public rather than my Social Security Number and mother's maiden name. I don't disagree with you, though, that it could make one feel uncomfortable. As a side note, attorneys are required to provide their fingerprinting results with their application to sit for the bar exam. In some instances the fingerprinting is used not only to deal with current crimes but also to assist with other crimes within which your fingerprints might be of use to be on file.
     
  3. tsubo

    tsubo Law Topic Starter New Member

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    "Mandatory"

    I wouldn't go so far as to say they have "demanded" it. I was informed that it was in the companies 5 year plan to complete background checks on currently employed and prospective employees. I was handed a disclaimer that I am to sign which gives them (the DOJ) the right to share the fingerprints among any agencies that may be deemed an affiliate of the DOJ.

    They said it was "mandatory" however, the term is subject to legal interpretation. I work for a private, not-for-profit learning institution for special needs children. I am not an educator, and I don't have daily contact with the students. I am a network administrator. A great deal of my day involves project management, campus infrastructure development, hardware and software trouble shooting, network management etc... the section of the statute describes the term "care" as "the provision of care, treatment, education, training, instruction, supervision or recreation to children, the elderly, or individuals with disabilities". I do not fit that description as a care giver. I deal with the underworkings of our campus, not with students in the classroom.

    Again, my issue is not with the background check. I will gladly give them any information they (the PD) want as long as it's not biometric. It may sound neurotic to want to maintain some level of individual privacy. The more people submit to the oppression and the "calculating-eye" of the government, and the more they willfully surrender all rights to privacy, the more I look paranoid, neurotic, or guilty because I am defending my human rights.

    Unfortunately, I am aware that quite possibly, my objection to this invasion could cause my employer to perceive me as guilty of something, and therefore unemployable. The issue is not a matter of hiding something that should be revealed, it's with guarding something so personal, so intimate as to identify me out of the entire population. It is so important to me that I am risking the appearance of being guilty because I am not complacent/compliant.

    I am focusing on the legality of forcing a citizen to get fingerprinted for the expressed purpose of creating a criminal history even though he is not a suspect, charged, convicted or otherwise criminally associated to the DOJ.

    Backgrounds can be researched without a fingerprint. I am wanting to present to my employer a win-win situation. And I want to know if they are within their legal rights to be imposing this on me. The background check and criminal report is a requirement persuant to the previously mentioned act, but the act of creating a record not already existing is an unnecessary invasion to my privacy. As my solution, they get a complete background check, and I get to guard what I percieve to be an intimate indicator of myself. My question to you is, do they (the employer) have any legal strength to force me into the fingerprinting?
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2001

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