Businessman in front of a computer doing criminal background checkIn the 2014 Global Economic Survey conducted by Pricewaterhouse Coopers, respondents were asked about which crimes they had encountered within their organisations. The top five results include: Theft (69%), Procurement Fraud (29%), Bribery and Corruption (27%), Cybercrime (24%), and Accounting Fraud (22%).

These numbers are enough to justify the importance of conducting a criminal background check during Pre-Employment Screening (PES). It is one way to gauge a candidate’s moral and ethical readiness to perform a particular role. After all, in cases when employees resort to any of the above mentioned criminal acts, not only is organisational resource compromised, the organisation’s name is also potentially jeopardised.

As crucial as these checks are to PES, employers must still know that there are laws to which they must comply.

Applicant’s Consent

If you work in human resource and are tasked to conduct recruitment, and, consequently, background checks, do remember that Australian law dictates: “employers should only ask about a criminal record where there is a connection between the inherent requirements of a particular job and a criminal record.”

Moreover, you need employees’ consent before you can perform a police check. This is per the specific amendments made to Australia’s privacy policy back in March 2014. The update requires subjects of background checks to be duly informed about the details of the process.

Anti-Discrimination Law

As an employer, you must also be aware of the stipulations under the Australian Human Rights Commission Act of 1986. This anti-discrimination law allows applicants that have been deprived of employment or current employees relieved from their jobs due to a criminal record to file a discrimination case if the nature of their previous criminal conviction in no way poses any direct threat to the position they applied for or the job from which they have been relieved.

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Usage of Information

Results of background checks should also be handled with utmost sensitivity. Once you have completed the process, it is worth noting that the information gained is subject to specific legal stipulations. It is in your best interest to comply.