The Infamous Box #4

Criminal record checks are increasingly being used to screen job applicants, and can hurt  your prospects of getting a job.

But should a recent speeding ticket (not a criminal offence) that puts you in the database allow an officer to check an ambiguous box that neither confirms nor denies the presence of a criminal record?

The Times Colonist reports,

The “may or may not exist” category — box No. 4 — is ticked when an applicant’s name turns up in police records for a wide range of reasons. Perhaps it was last year’s speeding ticket. It could be for being questioned by police about your barking dog or the fact someone noted your car’s plates while it was in the area of a crime being committed.

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association has long-standing concerns about criminal-record checks, said spokeswoman Micheal Vonn.

“We hear various stories about the infamous ‘box No. 4,’ and we are increasingly concerned, because not only has the amount of criminal-record checks increased but so has the amount of data that police are collecting.

“We understand there are very, very few guidelines and there are inconsistencies,” said Vonn, adding that what gets noted on a police database is often not verifiable.

“In the [fourth] box I have found, in assisting complainants, things that are so shocking and detrimental and prejudicial to their employment, such as police conjecture as to their mental health.”

1 Comment on "The Infamous Box #4"

  1. Yikes. I had a job contract at a borkerage firm last year, and they did the full gamut of background checks (criminal, credit, job, etc). Then I got a full time job recently at a software company and I was surprised that they did the same thing. Both explained to me that it was a blind test – that they only got a pass/fail and not any details. But I didn’t realize that that blindness could have its own problems.

    We need strong regulations protecting employees. For example, in the US there is a category of full-time worker called “at will”, which means they can be let go at any time with no cause, notice or severance. I work for a large Canadian company that makes all its US employees work “at will” – I’m sure they’d do the same here if they could.

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