As the number of companies in India asking for background checks of their prospective employees keeps increasing, background verification firms say that data protection laws are being flouted, as these checks happen without the consent of the candidate, reported Live Mint.
A number of background verification firms such as HireRight, IDfy AuthBridge, First Advantage India and KPMG India have revealed that there number of firms indulging in background checks, many of whom belong to the lot of newer industries.
Ajay Trehan, founder of AuthBridge in the report said, “More and more companies want to conduct background checks, but they are not aware of the best practices and are not sensitive to privacy of the candidates.”
In the begining, background checks in India were relevant mostly to multinational companies, mainly because they followed the practices inculcated by their parent headquaters in other countries.
In the West, background verification is a regulated process, with laws that govern it. Companies in the US are required to follow Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCA) regulations, which means that candidates need to give employers a written consent to access details about them. The rgulation also requires companies to inform candidates on how they plan on using the information gathered. In India however, that does not seem to be the case, said the report.
The report further reveals that while both blue-collar and white-collar employees can be subject to background checks, the senior-level employees are the ones who are most vulnerable to un-consented verifications.
Organisations reportedly also conduct probity checks on their prospective employees sans their consent, from time to time, revealed Purushotam Savlani, managing director, First Advantage.
While action for infringement against the right to privacy can be taken only against a state and not against a private company, candidates and employees can still sue for damage if required, said the report.
One however needs to be aware as to what segment of information comes under data protection laws. Court records and criminal records are public information, which do not request prior consent to be accessed. Sensitive and personal information like financial information, medical records etc are protected by the laws.