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Why companies require police checks - what are your rights?

Why companies require police checks - what are your rights?

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Have you ever gone through the recruitment process and been asked by a prospective employer for consent to perform a police check on you? It’s not done in every scenario, but there are several reasons an employer might want to undertake a police check.

As a candidate, it’s important to know what your rights are if this check is added to your hurdles of applications and interviews.  

To make sure you’re prepared, we’ve got all the information you need to know about police checks:

  • So, what is a national police check? It’s a summary of any person’s police history information in Australia. Checks can be conducted on Australian citizens or anyone residing in Australia. It is a government service provided to either an individual or organisation for employment, voluntary work and occupation-related licensing or registration purposes.
     
  • Why do employers require them? Many employers would find a police check beneficial to reduce the risk of theft, fraud or other criminal activity performed by a potential new employee. However, in industries where employees are working with children, the elderly or other vulnerable communities, police checks are vital for an organisation to rule out employing people who are past offenders. In these cases, where an employer believes that a criminal record is relevant to a specific job, they are required to state this clearly in the job ad, in information sent out to applicants and in recruitment briefs to agencies.
     
  • What are your rights? It’s important to know that other than checks for police investigation or prosecution purposes, no one is permitted to check another person’s police record without their consent. In other words, the release of a criminal history for employment purposes can only be done with the signed consent of the candidate. In addition, if you’re asked in an interview whether you have a criminal record, according to the Human Rights Commission, you are not required to volunteer any information, unless there’s a requirement under legislation to do so. In this case, you would have to disclose your record.

Need to obtain your accredited Australian national police check? Certsy lets you do this online, in three simple steps with 80% of checks delivered in one to two days. Suitable for most employment purposes. 

Checks can be conducted on Australian citizens or anyone residing in Australia

Information provided in this article is general only and it does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. SEEK provides no warranty as to its accuracy, reliability or completeness. Before taking any course of action related to this article you should make your own inquiries and seek independent advice (including the appropriate legal advice) on whether it is suitable for your circumstances.

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