The National Staff Dismissal Register ("NSDR") was
recently created to provide a facility for employers, particularly
those in the retail sector, to reduce crimes committed against them
by their own employees.
Retailers have always suffered from significant levels of theft.
Employees have been known to find ingenious ways to evade security
measures in order to steal cash, merchandise or other property in
spite of the security measures put in place. Fraud, damage to
company property and thefts from customers and other staff are also
The NSDR is a database which holds details of individuals who
have been dismissed or who have left employment whilst under
investigation for acts of dishonesty towards their employer.
Several large retailers have already signed up to the NSDR.
Employers who sign up to the NSDR will be able to search the
NSDR to check whether an applicant has been dismissed previously
for acts of dishonesty. There is no requirement that an individual
has actually been convicted of any criminal offence before they can
be included on the NSDR. There is therefore much concern that
individuals can be "blacklisted" even where there is no
proof that they have done anything wrong.
The body behind the NSDR, the British Retail Consortium, is keen
to stress that it considers that the NSDR complies with the Data
Protection Act 1988 ("DPA"), which regulates the use and
handling of information held and processed regarding individuals.
Employers will have to comply with the DPA when they add
information to the NSDR. Individuals will be able to demand
disclosure of all information held about them and will be able to
challenge any inaccuracies.
There are however, concerns that the disadvantages and
compliance issues outweigh the benefits of the NSDR. It is arguable
that where there is insufficient evidence to prosecute an
individual, it is unfair to include them on the NSDR. No account is
taken of the different burdens of proof between criminal and civil
matters. Even if there is insufficient evidence to prove that an
individual has, beyond reasonable doubt, committed a
crime, there may be sufficient evidence to prove on the balance
of probabilities that the employee in question carried out the
alleged act and should therefore lose his job. Employers need only
to satisfy an Employment Tribunal on the balance of probabilities
that a particular employee stole cash from the tills in order to
dismiss the employee fairly for theft. There...