It is not at all uncommon for employers to request an applicant’s consent for a police check. While it doesn’t happen in every scenario, a company may have several reasons to undertake this. As a candidate, you need to know your rights if you are being required to undergo an employment police check. Here are important things to remember during your interview.
The National Police Check
In Australia, the national police check provides a summary of a person’s criminal history. It can be done on Australian citizens and to anyone who resides in the country. It is a government service provided for an organisation or individual for purposes of licensing, voluntary work, employment, and registration.
A police check can be beneficial to the employer in many different ways. Some of these include reducing the risk of fraud, theft, or other criminal activity performed by would-be employees. In industries where the staff has to deal with vulnerable communities including children and the elderly, background checks are crucial to rule out past offenders.
It’s safe to say that when an employer believes that a past criminal activity is relevant to the specific job, they need to state this clearly in the job post, in recruitment briefs sent to agencies, and in the information shown to applicants.
It’s important to remember that aside from prosecution and police investigation processes, no one is allowed to check another police record without their consent. In other words, your employer can run a background check on you only if you’ve given your signed consent.
Furthermore, the Human Rights Commission states that a candidate is not required to volunteer any information unless there is a legislative prerequisite to do so. So if a hiring manager asks about your criminal record, you have the right to refuse disclosure.
Keep these in mind when applying for a job. Your rights matter and remember them when you’re faced with the decision to reveal your police record.