Thousands of people have been subjected to illegal background checks when they applied for jobs that did not require vetting, according to a report on the Criminal Records Bureau.
Job applicants came under scrutiny when they applied to be refuse workers, dog wardens, car park attendants and train drivers, said the report from crime reduction charity Nacro.
On one occasion, checks were sought on people applying to take part in a television game show.
Information should only be disclosed when people are applying for jobs that involve working with children and vulnerable adults, or certain financial and security-related occupations.
The report said that three-quarters of the 20,000 calls to Nacro’s helpline were about problems with criminal record checks.
“Some employers routinely misuse their access to the service by running checks on posts that are not [exempt] from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act and are thus not eligible for checking,” it said.
“This confirms the helpline’s experience — that many checks are illegal and people are being refused employment or suspended and dismissed as a result of them,” the report added.
The CRB acknowledged Nacro’s criticism and warned organisations that they could be de-registered if they apply for illegal checks.