This is the most recent in a series of posts by Professors James Jacobs and Elena Larrauri comparing criminal records disclosure policies in the United States and Europe. The decision of the European Court discussed below invalidated a policy of the United Kingdom authorizing broad disclosure of non-conviction records relating to child victims. (The U.K.’s policies on disclosure are closer to those of the U.S. than they are to those of continental countries.) While the U.K. has subsequently narrowed its disclosure policy, it remains to be seen whether even as amended the U.K.’s disclosure policy will pass muster under the European Convention on Human Rights.
There is no body of research on European criminal record-based employment discrimination (CBED) comparable to the employer surveys and field studies done in the United States. While European concern for informational privacy keeps criminal records out of the public domain, European countries do not prohibit employment discrimination based on criminal record. In fact, as in the United States, European countries make certain criminal records disqualifying for a vast range of public sector and some private sector employments.
This posting provides background on European, and especially Spanish, mandatory CBED. Our next posting provides background and discussion on discretionary CBED by private employers.