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Background Screening and GDPR

Before General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), carrying out criminal record checks on prospective employees was something many companies did as a matter of routine. But under the new GDPR, which is enforceable from 25th May 2018, background screening can only occur under very specific conditions.  

Under these regulations only two types of organisations are permitted to process personal data relating to criminal convictions and offences. Namely: 

  • If the processing is under the control of official authority; or 
  • when it is authorised by law providing for appropriate safeguards for the rights and freedoms of data subjects. 

The Data Protection Bill, published in September 2017, is designed to supplement GDPR and will authorise criminal records checks to a broader selection of companies, but only under certain strict conditions.  

The Bill includes provision for authorising the processing of criminal convictions data where necessary for the purposes of performing or exercising employment law obligations or rights. To carry out such processing, an employer would have to have in place a policy that explains its procedures for securing compliance with the principles of the GDPR in relation to the processing of the criminal records data, and that explains its policies on erasure and retention of the data.  

The Bill also authorises processing criminal records data in other circumstances, including where the subject has given his or her consent. This would allow employers to request a criminal record check where the prospective employee agrees to this, provided that the consent meets the specific requirements under the GDPR.  

It is not yet known when the Bill will come into force. 

If GDPR is already causing you a headache and you need some clarity on what the legislation says and how that may impact on you, your business and your employees, then join us for our one-day training course on 13 March 2018.   

If you need help and advice regarding GDPR, please do not hesitate to contact me or the employment team on 0113 350 4030 or at hello@scesolicitors.co.uk.   

If you would like to be kept up to date with employment law and dispute resolution updates, please subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

SCE Solicitors is a boutique employment law and dispute resolution practice based in Leeds which advises clients nationwide.  Please note that the information in this blog is to provide information of general interest in a summary manner and should not be construed as individual legal advice. Readers should consult with SCE Solicitors or other professional counsel before acting on the information contained here.

Samira Cakali

Samira Cakali is a pragmatic and approachable solicitor advocate with extensive contentious and non-contentious experience in the fields of employment law as well as civil litigation, within a range of commercial businesses from SME’s to multinationals as well as senior executives.

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