Brazil: Labor Court Rejects Demand for Proof of No Criminal Record

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By Ed Taylor

Brazil's superior labor court has issued a ruling that companies cannot demand proof that a job candidate does not have a criminal record.

The court on April 20 listed exceptions such as security guards and positions that demand “confidence,” but in all other cases, according to the decision, a request for proof of a clean record would constitute a “moral offense” for a job candidate.

The court's ruling came in two cases involving employees who sued their employers for damages on the grounds that the demand for proof of lack of a criminal record constituted an invasion of their intimacy and offended their dignity.

Lower courts ruled in favor of the employers in both cases, but the superior court, Brazil's highest labor court, overturned those decisions and awarded damages. The court also stated that its ruling constitutes a binding precedent, requiring all Brazil's labor courts to award damages in similar cases.

The employers in their defense argued that the existence or nonexistence of a criminal record constitutes public knowledge to which they should have access without the involvement of their job candidates and which would therefore not constitute moral offense.

The superior labor court's majority, however, ruled that this type of information deals with the personal lives of job candidates and demanding it constitutes an invasion of privacy and a violation of their rights.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ed Taylor in Rio de Janeiro at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rick Vollmar at

For More Information

For more information on Brazilian HR law and regulation, see the Brazil primer.

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