Article originally prepared for January/February issue of Contact magazine

In the modern world where it has never been technologically easier to monitor and track the actions of employees it feels counter intuitive to be writing an article that starts from the premise that we shouldn't attempt to find out every possible detail about a potential candidate.  However, with the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and equivalent legislation in both Guernsey and Jersey, for those businesses that do undertake pre-employment screening this will need to be reassessed in light of the new laws.

Probably the three key areas of screening are:

  • Criminal records and background checks;
  • Medical screening; and
  • Social media screening.

For many employers, requiring a criminal record or background check on a prospective candidate is recruitment 101, especially for those working in finance or safeguarding. At the most basic level this would include taking up references from a former employer. For more in depth screening, for example, to check if someone had a criminal record this would clearly be permitted in circumstances where there is a legal obligation to undertake such checks.  For most employers however, there will not be a legal requirement for such recruitment screening, and their requirement for this information is merely company policy.  In such circumstances employers must ask whether a search is necessary and proportionate for the role.  If it is then the first decision should be whether a declaration from the employee will suffice?  If not and a check is appropriate, then consideration must be given to the level of check.  For the vast majority of roles this should be limited to unspent convictions, the key exceptions to this being those who work with children and vulnerable adults, as well as for lawyers.

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The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.