Serious criticism against the Municipal Board in Södertälje for violating the protection of personal integrity and privacy by screening whether municipal employees have a criminal record

Södertälje municipality has implemented an order that entails that the municipality regularly screens whether its employees have committed a certain type of crime. The municipality has entered an agreement with an external company that on behalf of the municipality carries out the screenings through searches in databases containing public documents from courts and authorities. The final candidate in an employment procedure is screened in a corresponding way. To enable the screenings, the municipality discloses the personal identity numbers of the persons who will be screened to the company.

JO has examined whether the screenings of employees comply with basic regulations implemented to safeguard the protection of the personal integrity of private citizens as well as their right to privacy. JO also makes certain statements on the screenings of the final candidate in employment procedures.

According to JO, the screenings of employees constitute a serious violation of personal integrity and they entail a monitoring and survey of personal conditions that is done without consent. There is no legal basis for this. The screenings therefore violate the constitutional right to personal integrity. The screenings also violate the European Convention’s right to respect of privacy. JO finds that the municipality’s actions are highly conspicuous and gets the impression that the municipality wants to limit insight into this procedure. The municipal board receives serious criticism for these screenings, and JO assumes that the municipality will review the procedure in question.

In conclusion, JO notes that this is the second time recently that he is criticizing a municipality for not respecting the demand for legal support for actions that violate the protection of personal integrity and privacy. JO feels that there is reason to inform the legislator about what has been discovered and is therefore sending a copy of the decision to the government.

Date of decision: 2023-10-19