When you employee new staff how do you really know whom you have employed? Many businesses frequently neglect to undertake pre-employment screening when selecting new staff and, as a result, successful applicants can be placed in positions of great trust without adequate background enquiries being made.

Minimum enquiries needed The following enquiries should be made in relation to all prospective employees:

  • Verification of identity (birth certificate, drivers licence).
  • Police criminal history. 
  • Reference check – the 2 most recent employers. 
  • Consideration of any gaps in employment history and adequate reasons for those gaps. 
  • Verification of formal qualifications claimed. 
  • Credit Reference Association Australia or similar check to look for problems in relation to finances (possibly not needed if the applicant is not likely to be placed in a position of access to valuable goods or funds). 
  • Getting the applicant’s permission
  • You need to have the express permission of the applicant and it is best to have this in writing. This can be obtained in a standard form of application for employment. A refusal to permit the enquiries to be made should be a good indication of a problem best avoided with that applicant. Care needs to be taken to ensure that your business does not discriminate unlawfully in relation to the disclosure that is required.

Customer screening

It also follows that if you are going to provide substantial credit to a potential customer or if you are going to provide them with valuable assets, it is prudent to run suitable background checks similar to the above to minimise risks to your business. It may not be possible or necessary to perform the same range of searches as for a prospective employee but at a minimum ,searches to determine the solvency of the customer should be made.

No matter what size your business, careful pre-screening, although time consuming, is prudent and highly recommended.

If you would like any more information in relation to employee or customer screening, or if we can assist you in relation to any business matter, telephone Greg Dickson or email greg@wmdlaw.com.au.

Subscribe to the WMD Law Newsletter

Stay in touch with the latest legal news and legislative changes that
impact you by subscribing to our legal newsletter. It’s delivered to
your in-box every month and is always packed with interesting articles
prepared by our legal team.