Conducting Employee Background Checks in the EU: Is it Legal? Is it Advisable?

Date(s) of Presentation
February 25, 2010

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While employers in the United States have been conducting background checks on prospective employees for years, it still is a relatively new concept for companies in the EU. American companies have been doing this to uncover resume fraud, screen out potentially dangerous employees, and ascertain whether there has been a past history of criminal or other dangerous behavior.

In Europe, serious concerns have been raised regarding privacy issues, what information can be legitimately asked and obtained from former employers, what kind of background information can be collected, and what is the potential risk of data protection liability.

This webinar will discuss why background checks are important and how they can be done legally and practically in the EU, even taking into account the numerous privacy laws among all the different countries. Presenters will discuss:

  • How background checks are used in the EU - and lessons learned from screening in the U.S.
  • What employers can and cannot ask
  • What tools are used to conduct background checks; (research on the internet, interviews, request for information to former employers or government agencies etc.)
  • Legal framework for each tool (written consent by employee, employment contract etc.)
  • National and EU data protection legislation on background checks
  • Works councils' and union's rights on background checks
  • Bridging the gap: screening for EU residents who are applying to work in the U.S.

Speakers include:

  • Jan Tibor Lelley, Buse Heberer Fromm, Essen, Germany
  • Stéphane Baltazar, Van Olmen Wynant, Brussels, Belgium
  • Sascha Kuit, Bkel De Nerée, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Maria Da Gloria Leitao, Cuatrecasas, Gonçalves Pereira, Lisbon, Portugal
  • Lester S. Rosen, Employment Screening Resources, Novata, CA
  • Sasha Stepanova, Kocián Solc Balastík, Prague, Czech Republic
  • Claire Toumieux, Flichy Grangé Avocats, Paris, France
  • Barry Walsh, A& L Goodbody, Dublin, Ireland