trends legal magazine

Employment Law No 6

RUSSIA | Westside Law Firm

RUSSIA | Legal issues relating to obtaining of sensitive information of a candidate employee

How do I handle the issue of background checks, including those involving sensitive personal data such as criminal records?  

In case the work is not connected with the state authorities or with the commercial or sensitive secrets the background check of a candidate is made according to his education (confirmed by the diploma) and records of previous work. In Russia every employee has a work record book, which is now maintaned either electronically or on paper. It contains records for all places of work of an employee, dates of employment, of termination of employment and reasons for termination of employement. Above that a special certificate is usually required from the candidate/onboarding employee. Such certificate canbe provided to the employee by the employer at termination of employement. It shows the salary actually paid to the employee and all social security payments made for the employee.

In case a deeper check is needed (for example, where the employee will have access to sensitive information, money etc.), a certificate of no criminal record can be obtained (issued by police). Obtaining of such certificate, however, takes 30 days.

Some positions require access to classified information (not only for service in state bodies; such access is required, for example when a private company is producing some categories of equipment for the state needs or constructs buildings for the state). In this case a relevant certificate (issued by the Federal Security Service) is to be provided by the candidate.

Are there particular issues in checking candidates’ social media profiles?

Obviously, there are no restrictions for checking “open” social media profiles. Normally, a candidate would choose whether to open the access to the profile. Information obtained from such profile can be used for evaluation of professional competence of the candidate. A candidate cannot be refused for reasons (including sources from the social media profile) other than inconsistency with professional standards, no discrimination of any type is allowed. E.g. poor moral qualities of a candidate may be the reason for non-employment where conformity to ethical standards is required by law (state civil service, police, judges, etc.).

In reality information from social media may be a reason for refusal to employ a candidate and such refusal will be difficult to challenge in case the non-employment is formally motivated by other grounds.

Can I ask candidates about their Covid-19 vaccination status?

At present in some cases the employer is obliged to check the COVID19 vaccination status and arrange the vaccination in case reuired by the law (e.g. medical service workers, teachers). Therefore, in these cases the question is legitimate. If there is no prescription of the law for an employee to be vaccinated (e.g. where a person is required to work from home), refusal to employ motivated by the candidate being vaccinated/non-vaccinated may be treated as a discrimination. The above conclusion is more of a theory since no case law regarding this issue has been elaborated by today.

Are employees entitled to lie or to omit information; if information is subsequently found to be false, what can I do?

Provision of forged documents at signing of the labour contract is the ground for termination of the labour contract by the employer. The same relates to provision of false information on incomes and assets where provision of such information is required by law (for employment in state bodies).

The provision of false information which relates to working skills of the employee may be checked during attestation. If in course of attestation the employee is found unsuitable for the position he is employed at, this is a ground for termination of the employment by the employer.

Therefore, provision of false information relating to the requirements for the job or qualification can have effect on the employment status.

How should I deal with the personal data of unsuccessful candidates?

For storing of personal data, a permit from the candidate needs to be obtained. All measures must be taken to protect personal data from unauthorized or accidental access to them, destruction, modification, blocking, copying, provision, distribution of personal data, as well as from other illegal actions in relation to personal data. Therefore, permits for personal data storage and processing of personal date when a candidate is interviewed. Regardless of whether the candidate is successful or not, such permit in writing should be stored by the employer.


The Russian legislation provides requirements to the employer for protection of personal data and sanctions against unauthorized use of such data. At the same time the interests of both parties are balanced and there are no excessive requirements or issues which would lead to regular abuses of rights by the employees.

Written by:

Natalia Vodolagina, Partner


Article from – TRENDS Employment Law No 6

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