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Court: Professional licensure can require fingerprinting

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

A federal court has upheld a Cali­for­­nia state requirement that nurses who want to renew or apply for a professional license must submit a set of fingerprints along with their applications. The prints are needed to conduct criminal background checks.

Recent case: For years, Catherine West held a California nursing license. That was placed on inactive status after she refused to provide a set of fingerprints when she was up for renewal.

West sued, alleging the requirement was unconstitutional.

The court disagreed. It said the state has a legitimate interest in en­suring that professionals such as nurses and doctors don’t have criminal records that could affect their ability to practice their professions safely. It said fingerprints merely allow background checks. (West v. Bailey, No. 11-CV-1760, SD CA, 2012)

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