What kinds of jobs will require a criminal background check in Australia?

by dhiram

Criminal background checks are rapidly becoming the norm in many Australian businesses, even when a police clearance is not mandated by law. So, there are basically two types of situations where you, as a job applicant, will be asked to undergo a background check as part of the pre-employment screening process. Let’s have a look at both types of situations.

What are the domains where background checks are mandated by law?
Under Australian law, people who apply for a position in the court system or the penitentiary system must undergo a criminal records check.

People who work with vulnerable people are also required to undergo extensive background checks. According to the law, children, the elderly, and disabled people are considered vulnerable so they need to be protected against abuse.

Take, for instance, a care home – all the caretakers need to go through a police check before they can be hired. The same condition applies to other positions, like care home manager. You don’t work directly with the residents, but you nevertheless interact with them regularly and are in a position of power.

Also, for any sort of job that has to do with vulnerable people you will need to undergo a background check. Such jobs refer to people working in nurseries, school teachers, medical personnel in pediatric hospitals, professional entertainers or sports coaches.

When you apply for a top management position in a company you will also have to get a police clearance to make sure you were not convicted of any offences that fall under the Corporations Act of 2001, like fraud, embezzlement or serial bankruptcy. The same law prevents you from registering a new business under your name or from running it yourself.

What other businesses ask for criminal history checks?
Even if it’s not strictly mandated by law, many industries routinely use background checks. Industry execs have come to the conclusion that it’s best to self-regulate rather than risk hiring dangerous people.

In the banking system, for instance, you will probably have to undergo a background check to make sure you were not convicted on any theft or fraud charges.

It might sound surprising but even when you apply for an engineering position you might be required to submit to a police check via character check agencies like Australian national character check (ANCC) that enable the process in a streamlined manner for employers. This is because in some cases engineers have access to dangerous materials, like toxic chemicals or explosives.The point of a background check is to ensure the job candidate was not convicted of any terrorism-related offence.

What are your rights?
What you need to know is that, under Australian law, it is illegal to turn down a job application based on the candidate’s criminal record if the offences they committed are not directly relevant to the job.

Let’s say that, years ago, you were convicted on a minor traffic offence charge or maybe you got drunk and created a public disturbance. Does this mean that you won’t be able to work in the health system or banking? No, since such charges have nothing to do with the position you will occupy.

When you are unsure what offences are on your criminal record, it is recommended that you order a background check on yourself before applying for a position in one of the above mentioned domains. This can be easily done online using the services of a character check agency. This way, when you go to a job interview, you’ll know what’s on your criminal record and if it might affect in any way your chances of getting that job.