Has the GDPR "right to be forgotten" ruling made background checks harder?

Since the General Data Protection Regulation came into force in the spring, it hasn’t been far from the news.

One of the most disputed aspects of GDPR has been article 17’s “right to be forgotten”, which gives individuals the right to request that personal data be erased in certain circumstances.

But critics have argued that the ruling could prevent access to data which might change the outcome of background screening, particularly with regards to online searching. Candidates are now able to request the removal of posts or pictures that might be detrimental to their reputation. In addition, an individual exercising their right to be forgotten will inevitably result in a reduced availability of historical personal data.

There is no doubt that background screening has become a more complex process since GDPR. HR departments need to be especially mindful to ensure that they comply with the new regulations, which can make the process longer and more difficult. GDPR is designed to give individuals greater control over their data and how it is used.

In order to remain compliant, those collecting the data must provide candidates with basic information about which data is being collected and why, and how it will be used.

Employees are now entitled to require employers, past and present, to erase personal data about them in certain circumstances, including if the data is no longer necessary for the purpose for which is was collected, or if they withdraw consent. So previous background checks and screening results can be erased or modified if the candidate makes a request.

Ensuring background checks are GDPR compliant can be difficult. But a reputable third-party screening provider will ensure that your candidates rights are upheld, including their rights to access and amend personal data, object to processing it as well as respond to requests to uphold their “right to be forgotten”, while providing a comprehensive and crucial pre-employment background check.