The United Kingdom National Crime Dismissal Register (NCDR), also known as the National Staff Dismissal Register, was developed by the Action Against Business Crime Group (AABC) to retain details regarding individuals who have been dismissed or have left their employment while under investigation for acts of dishonesty towards their employer. This information is shared with other members of the register, who access the database to search for details regarding an applicant. The NCDR is designed to enable employers to reduce recruitment costs and to increase recruitment efficiency.
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The NCDR is an initiative of the AABC Group which is a joint venture between the Home Office and the British Retail Consortium. The main focus of AABC is to support and develop business crime partnerships in local areas and to create links between businesses.
The NCDR was launched in May 2008 to hold data on individuals who were dismissed or who left employment while under investigation for acts of dishonesty, including theft of money or merchandise, falsification or forgery of documents, or causing damage to company property. Organizations that enroll in this program enjoy access to the information provided thereon and may use it in their employee screening processes.
Because NCDR collects and shares personal information regarding employees, NCDR must abide by the restrictions set forth in the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). The DPA affords individuals with the right to require the NCDR to correct inaccuracies in its records. Following such request, if an individual is found to be falsely accused of dishonesty, the record will be removed. Employees who believe that they have been wrongly accused may also appeal to their former employer, and if the former employer rejects their appeal, the employee may then appeal to the Information Commissioners Office and may, ultimately, seek judicial redress.
Trades Unions and civil liberties groups have condemned the creation of the register. The general secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) said that: “[w]hile criminal activity in the workplace can never be condoned, the TUC is concerned that this register could lead to people being excluded from the job market by an employer who falsely accuses them of misconduct or sacks them because they bear them a grudge.” The TUC’s policy officer expressed concern that employees were being stigmatized as criminals regardless of whether the police had been contacted by the employer.
In addition, a leading defamation lawyer noted that employers could face costly libel lawsuits for publishing unproven allegations. Notwithstanding, other commentators have noted that the bar has been set so high for prosecutions under the Defamation Act 1996, that it was not improbable that the NCDR would completely bypass the legal system.
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Staff Attorneys, IBLS Editorial Board