Recruitment

Advertising

What are the requirements relating to advertising positions?

There are no legal requirements relating to advertising positions.

Background checksWhat can employers do with regard to background checks and inquiries in relation to the following:

(a)Criminal records?

It is uncommon to check criminal records in Belgium, except when this is relevant for the job (eg, in the security sector).

(b)Medical history?

Employers must be cautions when requesting medical history checks, as this may amount to discrimination on the basis of an individual’s health status. Employers can request medical history information only when such information is genuinely relevant for the job or function (eg, because of safety reasons).

(c)Drug screening?

General drug screenings is prohibited. Employers can request such tests be conducted by their occupational physician only in limited circumstances. Employers should maintain a clear drugs policy and include mandatory provisions in their internal work rules. Drug test can be used by a physician only to check whether the applicant is medically capable of performing the work. Physicians cannot communicate the test results to the employer.

(d)Credit checks?

As a rule, employers cannot enquire about an applicant’s credit and financial background. The General Anti-discrimination Act of 10 May 2007 prohibits any discrimination based on personal wealth. Belgian law does not allow recruiters to have access to applicants’ financial information.

(e)Immigration status?

As employing a foreign national who does not have a right or a (temporary) permit to work in Belgium would be illegal, employers can request information on applicants’ immigration status.

(f)Social media?

Employers can undertake social media and internet checks if they adhere to the general rules (eg, on discrimination and data protection) and the checks are genuinely relevant for the job.

Applicants who invoke their right to privacy when confronted with this information can often be refuted when they have put the information online themselves and either intended to make this public or should have known that the information would become public.

For example, an employer’s use of LinkedIn information should raise no issues in principle, as this social network is exclusively dedicated to business and professional relations and one of its aims is to connect individuals with employers. On the other hand, the use of information posted on Facebook can be more problematic as it may cover the private sphere.

(g)Other?

The main rule is that background checks cannot be discriminatory and must be relevant for the job. Certain tests (eg, genetic and HIBV tests) are strictly forbidden by law.