Jan 22, 2020

Which Employment Back Ground Checks Are Legal?

Australian employers commonly do back ground checks on favoured applicants before they offer them the job. However, some questions are legally off limits.  The Australian Government sets the bar high for back ground checks under the immigration rules. If you want to come to Australia, it says, we need the following information. If you don’t provide it we’ll disregard your application. Who’s next in the queue? Pretty much the same applies if you are on the short list for a job.

 
What an Employer MAY NOT Consider When Doing Background Checks

Each state and territory has laws forbidding discrimination on account of

  • Gender / sexual identity / marital status
  • Physical / mental disability or impairment
  • Age or age group
  • Political / religious belief / activity
  • Spent convictions officially forgiven
  • Industrial activity / union membership

Wise employers stay out of trouble by not discussing these matters when doing back ground checks at interviews. If applicants enquire, a wise answer could be ‘we don’t discriminate that way. What counts is what you can do for us’.

What an Employer MAY CONSIDER When Doing Background Checks

This is the full list covering every eventuality an employer may legally investigate. However, in reality several of these only apply in high security situations e.g. private detective / police work. Other employers should therefore ignore those, or else they may be at risk of unnecessarily intruding on privacy. Here’s the full list.

  • Education and past employment records
  • Fingerprinting / criminal records
  • Handwriting samples
  • Credit / financial checks
  • Union membership details
  • Health checks / medical screening
  • Political views
  • Social media / internet search
  • Drug and alcohol testing

The Aspects Every Employ SHOULD CONSIDER before Hiring

Australian employers commonly do back ground checks on favoured applicants before they offer them a job. However, as we have mentioned they should only investigate matters pertinent to the particular role.

Aspects generally regarded as ‘safe’ include

  • Employment records
  • Educational achievements
  • Credit history according to credit bureaus
  • Admissible criminal records
  • Visa conditions if a foreign national
  • Motor vehicle and license records

There have been several high-profile court cases finding employers guilty of unfair discrimination. News like this can do immeasurable damage to a brand. That’s why an increasing number of employers delegate employment background checks to intermediaries such as QLD Covert Investigations

We do thorough back ground checks that probe the subject person according to the circumstances, and Australian federal / state / territory law. If you feel you need more help please send an email to this address. If you would like to call 0401 553 551 for a free confidenial discussion.

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