‘Back door’ criminal record requests now a criminal offence

Employers who carry out forced subject access requests on potential or existing employees can now face criminal charges.

Historically, if an employer wanted to find out about any previous criminal convictions a potential employee might have, they should’ve used the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), previously known as the Criminal Records Bureau.

Neither of those organisations would disclose any spent convictions because of the effect of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

It had become known for employers to circumvent this by asking applicants to make their own Data Protection Act Subject Access Request to get a fuller history, including spent convictions.

However, since March 2015 it has become a criminal offence to ask job applicants or existing employees to do this.

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