Don’t get a criminal record by asking about criminal records
It has always been a delicate issue trying to check whether potential employees have criminal records and now it has become even trickier, leaving employers in danger of acquiring a criminal record of their own if they don’t follow the correct procedures.
The official way to check is to use the Disclosure and Barring Service, which was formerly known as the Criminal Records Bureau. However, that doesn’t reveal spent convictions.
In the past, employers wishing to get the full picture of a potential employee have been able to get round the problem by asking job applicants to provide a copy of their criminal record by way of a Data Protection Subject Access Request.
However, in March changes to the Data Protection Act made it a criminal offence to require applicants or existing employees to reveal their records in this way. It means businesses will now have to rely on information provided by the Disclosure and Barring Service.
Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law.