It is now a criminal offence for an employer to request an employee or potential employee to obtain Garda clearance outlining that person’s criminal record.
The Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003 permit individuals to make a data request to An Garda Síochána to obtain details of that person’s own criminal record. In the past, employers have requested employees or potential employees to obtain this Garda clearance and have made employment contingent on its results. Section 5 (d) of the Data Protection (Amendment) Act 2003 prohibits employers requiring individuals to make access requests in connection with recruitment, employment or the provision of services or requesting the individual to provide the employer with the results of such a request. Although introduced in the 2003 Act, the section only came into force in July and this means that any such request by an employer is now a criminal offence. The sanction for breaching the section is a maximum fine of €3,000 on summary conviction or €100,000 on indictment.
This section is separate to Garda Vetting Procedures which are legally required for employees in certain roles including those working with children and vulnerable adults.
For more information, please contact Michelle O’Riordan, Solicitor, of our Employment and Pensions Unit at [email protected] or +353 (0)61 44 55 53.