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I recently received an offer from a company. The HR of the company called a few days back after the negotiations got over and said that they have a system of employing a third party to do a background check on all the joinees. I said I am okay with it. He further stated that I should be submitting all my original documents-right from my high school ones to the company at the same time I receive my offer letter and even before joining them on their first day. Also, he says that he will send me an official email for the same and that they will return the documents on the day of induction.

My guess is that he thinks that I will be using my offer letter to attend interviews and negotiate with other companies and if I get a better offer from others, I will be joining other companies and that acquiring documents gives them a control over this. I am not too comfortable with submitting my documents as no one can be sure of how the next few months before joining them would turn out to be. Now, I want to know if this is the usual thing companies do and if I am overreacting or is it just not ethical of them to expect me to submit the original documents even before joining them. Also, how do I go about this?

The reason the HR gave for asking the documents was that the company spends some money on my background checks and they want to make sure that those are not wasted

  • How do you suspect they would react if you offered to come collect them in person after a certain amount of time? Are there any laws in your area that would force them to return the documents to you if you asked? – Kozaky Dec 12 '18 at 8:19
  • I am really not sure how they would and I am also not sure of any laws that would require them to(most probably not because i think that they would ask me sign some agreement for this). This all happened over the phone. – Vishal .R Dec 12 '18 at 9:06
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Submitting documents for background check purposes before joining isn't that unusual - it lets the process get underway ASAP but I have to say that the requirements for them to be originals would be something I'd be leery of without some well defined process for getting them back. You don't mention jurisdiction but in the UK any check that included a DBS check would require originals for example but the mechanism for them being returned is well established. Third party checks will often require to present the originals which they then take copies of.

It's unlikely that this is some ploy to prevent you taking up other offers IMO - from the sounds of it you've negotiated and accepted an offer and if I were your prospective employer I wouldn't be expecting you to still be actively searching but I'd be assuming you'd be acting in good faith rather than taking measures to restrict you. If I didn't believe you would be taking the offer in good faith I wouldn't have offered it to you in the first place! There probably are companies that are more suspicious but I don't see any sign of that here. Just a company that wants to get on with the on-boarding process.

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Now, I want to know if this is the usual thing companies do and if I am overreacting or is it just not ethical of them to expect me to submit the original documents even before joining them. Also, how do I go about this?

This is not usual and not legal as well in India (Guessing it from your user name) and I bet think it is not legal anywhere else at most places in the world. So simply DECLINE request for submitting original documents.

However, there also could have been a miscommunication. Your HR might have requested to submit "copies of all the original document", which is a usual practice and usual phrasing as well around here.

Best strategy could be just send the e-copies in an email without asking for ant clarification. Add a message like

Here are all the documents as requested! Please let me know if you need anything else.

You will soon know if they are really insisting on originals. If they do, you already know what kind of company you are about to work for and if you should!

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    I bet it is not legal anywhere else in the world You'd lose that bet I'm afraid! – motosubatsu Dec 12 '18 at 9:28
  • @motosubatsu I suppose I would but could you tell which countries make that legal? – PagMax Dec 12 '18 at 13:08
  • As per my answer.. UK for a start, also I've not seen any evidence to suggest it's illegal in India for that matter – motosubatsu Dec 12 '18 at 13:18

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