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Employee vetting – a word of warning

A previously dormant section of the Data Protection Act 1998 came into force on 10 March 2015 which now makes enforced subject access a criminal offence.

In the employment context, this essentially means it will be unlawful for an employer to require either a job applicant or an existing employee to obtain a copy of their criminal records (including spent convictions) via a subject access request and supply it to the employer in connection with their recruitment or continued employment. This most commonly occurs where employers require employees to apply to the Disclosure and Barring Service personally in circumstances where a check may not otherwise be applicable to their post.

Employers will now need to carefully consider their recruitment practices and assess whether a DBS check is strictly required for a certain role. If it is not it will be unlawful to require an individual to apply for and provide this information. Breach of the section will be punishable with an unlimited fine for an institution, and in some cases “any director, manager, secretary or similar officer” who may be personally liable.

If you are concerned about this recent change please feel free to contact us on 0191 282 2880 for a no obligation chat or email us if you require further advice.

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