Background story: I've been employed in Australia full-time for 5+ years for a US-based financial company. Their HR now have the idee fixe to do a "background screening" for all employees. The rationale is allegedly a law in the US that requires financial institutions to do so.
Question number 1: Can someone from the US here confirm this? (I was unable to search for this, search results are spammed with BG screening providers.) It smells fishy to me: Certain three-letter agencies would be very interested in the personal data of the world's top financial institutions' staff.
I know that what they're trying to do is pretty much violating the AHRC Act as per this document:
- Violation 1: Screenings should be pre-employment, not 5 years into the employment.
- Violation 2: Screenings should be relevant to the position, job and tasks, not be performed broadly. My position is a coding monkey. Any scenario where I could use the data I see for fixing bugs for anything that harms the business in a way that is linked to a previous offence would be extensively construed. I also don't see the relevance of employment history, where I lived etc.
- Violation 3: Scare tactics: We've been given less than a week to complete all forms. Normally, one would expect to have two weeks to dig out all files and get potential legal advise.
- Violation 4: No transparency. The screening is performed by a third-party company based in the US. Besides the question what a US-based company has got to do with AU-based criminal records, they don't disclose what is being checked (criminal, financial, etc.?). This also means that rebuttals are impossible.
- Violation 5: In accordance with violation 4, privacy breaches. We're forced to upload our most sensitive documents (passports, driver's licence) to a web page (based in the US). Our company proxy does forced SSL inspection, our browsers are rigged with their rogue certificates. Also, once the data is in the US, there's no way to remove it ever again form the systems of the third-party.
Question number 2: Has anyone made similar experiences, and if so, what have you done to possibly avoid the screening, perhaps with legal support (relevant sections of AHRC Act, Privacy Act, workplace-related laws etc.)?
Important fact: I've never had a criminal conviction.
Please no "What do have you got to hide?" answers.
PS: I'm not seeking legal advise beyond what would be commonly known by the community through experience.
Also, what I'm asking here wouldn't be company-specific. In would in fact apply to any scenario that is similar to this one. Not sure what's company-specific in my questions.