Why Are Companies Permitted To Conduct Background Screening?

There are many reasons why organizations have to run an individual’s background verification. Rationally, there are some lawful reasons that they can check your experience and utilize that data to dismiss or acknowledge your application.

Background checks are allowed on the following grounds:

• To decide whether you’re legitimately qualified to work in the nation (e.g., citizenship status or you have a lawful work visa)
• To check criminal history for certain types of position (Example: police force, childcare)
• Financial history for a few kinds of job positions (Especially if it concerns financial/banking industry)
• To guarantee you meet certain wellbeing/medical prerequisites for the work in a few situations
• To guarantee you’re a correct fit for the activity, in view of your skills, past work history, work habits, and identity.

These five reasons are generally, the main legitimate reasons you’ll discover in many countries. While laws exist with respect to immigration work status for all nations, as an employee, you should have a legitimate working visa or some likeness thereof to work in that nation in the event that you are not a citizen. Employers can discriminate based on legal work status without facing any legal consequence if the employee does not have the proper work permit.

The requirement to check for criminal history for certain types of position is allowed due to the sensitivity of the job. You don’t want a child molester working in a school or a person with a drug abuse history driving a school bus. Some jobs should require a background check, such as working with children, the disabled and the elderly. However, today, almost all employers want a save working environment and request for the job applicant to fill in the application form with regards to criminal history. To be completely forthright, employers do have a duty to hire someone who won’t be a risk to their company, brand, or other coworkers. In some situations, they have a legal requirement to explore your background and could be fined or held legally responsible if they do not do their due diligence in hiring. One cannot think of business that is immune from damage due to theft or dishonesty. Moreover, the customers of a business need to feel that they can trust the person representing the company. Requiring felons to be given jobs could destroy a company that depends upon a reputation.

On the other hand, employers too should exercise fair employment policy as against discrimination. Different jobs might justify checking for specific types of crime. Checking white-collar crime is more often justified for executives than checking if someone smoked pot fifteen years ago whilst he/she was in the University, for a Managing Director’s position. Not everyone who has a criminal record would be a thug. A point of interest here is – how do we draw a line if someone is caught in a “Polis Operasi”? Many youngsters are caught in this predicament. Sometimes the candidate might just be a poor victim of circumstances as he/she was at ‘the wrong place at the wrong time’. Again, when one is released after police enquiry due to insufficient evidence, does this make the candidate “honest”? In Malaysia, ‘once caught, the record is captured permanently’. Hence, employers too must act fairly on a ‘case to case’ basis.

Perhaps the government can provide some subsidy to businesses or charities that provide jobs to criminals trying to go straight, but the burden of rehabilitation should not be put upon independent businesses trying to survive.

Beginning 1st July 2018, financial institutions will be required to conduct a screening on prospective employees. The Bank Negara Malaysia has issued the policy document on Employee Screening and the policy aims to promote an ethical workforce within the financial sector by strengthening the screening practices for recruitments by financial institutions. The purpose of this policy ensures highest standard of integrity and professionalism by employees of financial institutions as being critical to sustain public confidence in the financial sector. The behavior of each individual employed by financial institutions may be perceived to be a reflection of the broader state of conduct and culture within the financial sector. Financial institutions are collectively responsible to uphold the integrity of the industry and it is in each institution’s interest to conduct a thorough due diligence on the individuals it seeks to employ. The recruitment process presents a critical opportunity for financial institutions to screen appropriate candidates and mitigate the risk of ‘rolling bad apples’ within the industry. The policy document will be applicable to financial holding companies, licensed institutions and prescribed development financial institutions.

Employers have a right to hire their employees who are trustworthy and reliable. If an employer feels that something in someone’s record casts doubt on that person’s trustworthiness or reliability, they have no obligation to hire that person. However, in almost every case, employers cannot use racial or ethnic background, political opinions or views, genetic history, age, gender, maternity status or sexual orientation to deny you a job.