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Briefing: Should employers consider an employee’s private life when assessing their suitability for a role?

Last month, the Director General of the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said that recruiting must become “more intrusive and diligent” in order to prevent “baddies” from being hired. Michael Lockwood’s comments were made directly in relation to the Police force, and how those applying for a Police Officer role should be subjected to vigorous background checks – with private matters such as extra-marital affairs they consider as “dangerous red flags” of their character, and subsequent unsuitability for the job. As a result of advances in technology, employers are now able to undertake a far wider range of background checks on potential new employees than ever before. But is that fair or the right thing to do? Is it appropriate for employers to consider events that occur in someone’s private life to assess their capability for a job role? This briefing looks at the issues.

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