Don’t commit a crime whilst checking for criminality!

Thursday February 2, 2017

Last week the offence of Enforced Subject Access Requests (under Section 56 of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) – if you are a details person!) came into force. It has been implemented after a 17 year wait.

This is aimed at stopping employers from demanding that prospective employees obtain and supply their criminal records via the Data Protection Act. These are referred to as ‘back door’ criminal record checks. They leave employees unnecessarily exposed as they could share unnecessary information such as cautions and unspent convictions.

Employers must now use the formal criminal record check system via the Disclosure and Barring Service or Disclosure Scotland. The HR Dept can assist businesses with making sure that they get their checking right and don’t break the law themselves.

But what other checks might you want to make on a potential employee before making an unconditional job offer?  Some checks are optional like checking a potential employee’s qualifications or references. Whilst other checks are a legal requirement – for example, ensuring that all your workers have a right to work in the UK.

For roles where the employee would be working with vulnerable individuals or for security industry jobs, you are required by law to apply to join the Disclosure and Barring (DBS) Service (England and Wales) or the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme (Scotland).

Employers should also be extremely careful not to discriminate if wishing to check potential employees’ health suitability to work. The 2010 Equality Act made changes to ensure that medical checks regarding a candidate’s suitability to work can only happen after an employment offer has been made, except in very limited circumstances.

To stay on the right side of the law when it comes to recruitment and employee ID checking just contact The HR Dept.

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