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Tests and checks

Employers can use tests and checks both before and during employment. Checks can include criminal or credit history, drug and alcohol testing, but must be relevant to the job and/or work place.

Previous names for pre-employment checks

Sometimes an applicant will be asked to provide all of their previous names to enable a thorough criminal or credit check. These details can only be:

  • used for a proper purpose, eg for background checks that the position needs
  • asked for if all applicants are being asked.

An employer can’t ask an applicant to give their previous name details if this isn’t for a lawful purpose, eg they are trying to work out whether the person is a transgender person.

Criminal record checks

Employers can get a job applicant or employee’s relevant criminal history from the Ministry of Justice or get Police vetting information but only if the person agrees in writing.

Drugs, alcohol and work

Generally, an employer may only ask employees and other workers to agree to alcohol or drugs tests if this is a condition of their appointment and in the employment agreement or workplace policies.

Credit checks

Employers may do credit checks of an applicant only if there is significant financial risk such as dealing with accounts or financial administration, and the short-listed employee has consented.

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