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Recruitment of employees

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Your organisation needs to bear in mind a number of different laws when it recruits employees. These include laws about equal opportunity and discrimination, laws about screening procedures, and privacy laws. There are also Commonwealth laws which prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, age, disability and race. 

The following  fact sheets and web pages will help your organisation in the recruitment process.

Not-for-profit Law resources on recruitment

The following fact sheet includes information regarding:

  • the recruitment process
  • anti-discrimination and consumer law considerations
  • screening procedures, and
  • privacy.

The following fact sheet includes information regarding:

  • what is discrimination?
  • whether anti-discrimination laws apply to your organisation and how this affects the way you recruit employees or volunteers
  • what happens if discrimination does occur, and
  • how to apply for an exemption from the provisions of the Equal Opportunity Act.

The Not-for-profit Law privacy page has further information on privacy obligations.

Background screening of potential employees

It is important that your organisation undertakes screening and induction of volunteers in a thorough and systematic way. Certain background checks are requried by law (under legislation or contract) and others are discretionary.

Not-for-profit Law has produced a comprehensive guide on Screening Checks which includes information on: 

  • Working with Children Checks
  • Police Checks (sometimes called National Police Checks or Criminal Record Checks)
  • interstate and overseas screening
  • other types of screening checks, and
  • recent child safety law reforms relevant to screening. 

Other background screening checks

Officially, criminal record checks are called National Police Certificates. 

If your organisation wants to require an applicant to provide a National Police Certificate, you need to contact Victoria Police. Victoria Police will not provide information about an individual's criminal history without that person’s written consent.  For more information go to the Victoria Police website and CrimCheck.

Police checks are different from WWCs and you may want to require both, depending on the nature of the work being done by the employee. For example, not all criminal offences will be checked for as part of a WWC, only those that the Department of Justice considers to pose a risk to children.  Offences such as traffic offences or minor thefts may not be revealed through a WWC Check.

A police check allows an organisation to be aware of most previous convictions - child-related or not - and this may be appropriate if the employee’s role will involve, for example, handling money or driving clients between locations.  

Important!
If your organisation requires applicants to undergo police checks during the recruitment process, you must not refuse an applicant because he or she has a prior conviction for an offence that has no relevance to the position. 

There are legal protections against discrimination on the basis of criminal record, and you should only refuse an applicant on the basis of a criminal past when you believe that the prior offence prevents the applicant from performing the 'inherent requirements' of the position.

For more information go to Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC).

Extra resources

Your organisation needs to bear in mind a number of different laws when it recruits employees. These include laws about equal opportunity and discrimination, laws about screening procedures, and privacy laws. There are also Commonwealth laws which prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, age, disability and race. 

The following fact sheets and web pages will help your organisation in the recruitment process.

Not-for-profit Law resources on recruitment

The following fact sheet includes information regarding:

  • what is discrimination?
  • do the anti-discrimination laws apply to my organisation and how does this affect the way I recruit employees or volunteers?
  • what happens if discrimination does occur? and
  • how can my organisation apply for an exemption from the provisions of the Anti-Discrimination Act?

Background screening of potential employees

Working with children check

Employees (or volunteers) of any organisation who will be undertaking 'child-related work’ must not commence in that role without a Working with Children Check (WWC Check).  The Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012 (NSW) defines what is 'child-related work’.

Failure to comply with these requirements can result in serious penalties for both the organisation and the employee or volunteer who has failed to undertake the check. 

Not-for-profit Law has produced a comprehensive guide on Working with Children Checks which includes information on:

  • legal obligations under Working With Children Checks
  • Working With Children Check applications
  • what a Working With Children Check does, and
  • other types of checks

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