Requests for Criminal background tricky following GDPR changes

Employers could “struggle to justify” requests for criminal record details early in the recruitment process now the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is in force, a social justice charity has warned. GDPR, which was enacted in the UK through the Data Protection Act and came into force on 25 May, requires potential employers to only collect personal information where it is strictly necessary.
The charity has warned that employers still requesting criminal record details at the start of the recruitment process may struggle to align their reasoning with GDPR. The charity has urged businesses to reconsider what information they ask for and, if it is necessary to request criminal record details, to only do so towards the end of the hiring process, when the candidate is being seriously considered. More than 11m people in the UK have a criminal record and the charity is calling for employers to remove questions about criminal records from preliminary job application forms.
However, a previous survey revealed that 50% of employers would not consider hiring an ex-offender, while 45% of businesses felt an ex-offender would be an unreliable employee.
Last month, the Supreme Court decided a man’s human rights had not been infringed when a criminal record check certificate revealed he had been acquitted of a serious crime. However, the Judge noted that he had concerns over the guidance given to those providing information to be included in criminal record certificates, particularly in as far as how potential employers were likely to react to the information disclosed.

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