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Article

3 min read

A Guide to Employee Background Checks in Brazil

Employee background checks
Legal & compliance

Author

Michał Kowalewski

Published

March 21, 2024

Last Update

July 10, 2024

A view of the Rio de Janeiro coastline

Table of Contents

What employers need to know before running background checks in Brazil

Are background checks legal in Brazil?

What types of background checks are illegal in Brazil?

Industries where background checks are common in Brazil

Types of employee background checks in Brazil

Background check mistakes to avoid in Brazil

Step-by-step guide to employment background checks in Brazil

Key takeaways
  1. When conducting employee background checks in Brazil, obtaining the candidate's explicit consent is crucial to ensure compliance with the General Data Protection Law (LGPD)
  2. Effective background checks in Brazil should encompass various aspects, including criminal records, employment history, educational qualifications, and, in certain industries, credit history checks
  3. Background checks are common in sectors like finance, healthcare, education, and security within Brazil. These industries need more attention because they deal with important information, money, or people's health and safety

Employee background checks should be an integral part of your hiring process in Brazil. Although not mandatory, they are a common practice, especially in finance, healthcare, education and security.

Brazil is an interesting choice for companies hiring globally because of its big workforce, with both advantages and difficulties. The country has the fifth-largest workforce globally, indicating a substantial pool of potential employees. This can provide companies with a wide range of talent to choose from, spanning various industries and skill sets​.

The Brazilian workforce faces talent gaps, particularly in areas requiring technical skills, engineering, and IT, which are crucial for modern businesses. Around 75% of employers have reported difficulties finding employees in Brazil, indicating a shortage in skilled labor in these areas. This could present challenges but also opportunities for global employers to invest in training and development to build the necessary skills within their Brazilian teams.

In this environment, conducting background checks becomes important for companies to mitigate risks and make informed hiring decisions. These checks help verify information provided by candidates, ensuring they possess the qualifications and meet the necessary criteria for the role.

In this article, you will discover:

  • How to run an effective and legal employment screening in Brazil
  • What are the common types of employee checks in Brazil
  • Step-by-step process of a thorough employee screening
  • What mistakes to avoid when performing a background check in Brazil

What employers need to know before running background checks in Brazil

An employee background check is the process of verifying a potential hire’s work history, education, professional qualifications, and any criminal records they might have. It’s particularly beneficial to run before finalizing an employment offer or signing a contract, ensuring the candidate meets the company's standards and requirements. 

When performing employee background checks in Brazil, it's crucial to comply with the General Data Protection Law (LGPD) and adhere to guidelines set by the National Data Protection Authority (ANPD).

  • General Data Protection Law (Lei Geral de Proteção de Dados - LGPD): This is Brazil's cornerstone data protection legislation, which outlines individuals' rights regarding their personal data and the obligations of organizations that handle such data. The LGPD emphasizes the need for consent, data security, and transparency in the processing of personal data.
  • National Data Protection Authority (Autoridade Nacional de Proteção de Dados - ANPD): This agency oversees and enforces compliance with the LGPD. It provides resources, guidance, and training to ensure organizations, including employers conducting background checks, adhere to the LGPD and safeguard individual data rights.
  • Legitimate interest and compliance: For background checks under the LGPD, it's important to establish a legitimate interest for accessing the information. The process must be necessary for ensuring the legality and security of employment relationships, and employers must conduct a balancing test to ensure that their interests do not override the fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subjects.

In the Brazilian context, there's a significant emphasis on the ethical use of personal data. Employers often weigh the importance of professional qualifications alongside the potential employee's integrity and trustworthiness. Character references and testimonials may also play a crucial role in the hiring process, reflecting the local business culture's focus on personal reputation and reliability.

Background checks are legal in Brazil, but they must comply with the labor laws and privacy regulations. 

Recruiters and employers can conduct background checks on job candidates, provided that they obtain the candidate's explicit consent and ensure that the processing of personal data complies with the principles established by the LGPD. Bear in mind that although the law doesn’t mention it, it’s safer to have the written consent of the candidate, for documentation and compliance purposes.

It's important to note that conducting background checks without the candidate's consent or in violation of the LGPD can lead to legal consequences and sanctions.

What types of background checks are illegal in Brazil?

According to Brazilian law, certain types of background checks that infringe upon people’s right to privacy or dignity are illegal. Global employers should stay clear of the following prohibited practices:

  • Collecting sensitive personal data without explicit consent: You can only process sensitive with clear, explicit consent from the data subject, except in certain specific situations outlined by the law​​
  • Failing to document the legal basis for data processing: Companies must identify and document the legal basis for each data processing activity, including those involved in background checks​​.
  • Inadequate notification about data processing: The LGPD requires you to inform the candidates about the processing of their data, including the purposes, duration, and rights they hold regarding their data​​.
  • Cross-border data transfer without compliance: Transferring personal data across borders is subject to stringent requirements under the LGPD, including transfers only to countries with adequate data protection levels or under specific legal mechanisms​​

Violations of the LGPD regulations in Brazil can result in significant penalties, including fines, public disclosure of infractions, and even suspension of data processing activities. Specific sanctions outlined by the LGPD include warnings, fines of up to 2% of a company's revenue in Brazil (excluding taxes) for the prior fiscal year, with a total maximum of 50 million reais (approximately $8.7 million USD) per infraction, daily fines, blocking or deletion of personal data related to the infraction, and partial or total prohibition of activities related to data processing​​.

For example, shortly after the LGPD came into effect, Brazil’s Public Ministry of the Federal District and Territories [filed the first lawsuit] for alleged violations of the LGPD involving the improper sale of personal information from 500,000 individuals​​. This demonstrates the active enforcement measures against breaches of personal data protection laws in Brazil.

Industries where background checks are common in Brazil

In Brazil, background checks are common in industries such as finance, healthcare, education, and security. These industries often deal with sensitive information, financial transactions, or the safety of individuals, making thorough background checks essential to mitigate risks and ensure regulatory compliance.

  • Finance: In the finance industry, background checks are particularly vital due to the handling of sensitive financial data, investment management, and the prevention of fraud. Employers often scrutinize candidates' financial histories, credit reports, and criminal records to safeguard against potential risks related to fraud or misconduct
  • Healthcare: Background checks are standard practice in the healthcare sector to ensure patient safety and regulatory compliance. Employers typically verify candidates' credentials, licensure status, and professional backgrounds to guarantee they meet the necessary qualifications and uphold ethical standards in providing medical care
  • Education: Within the education industry, background checks are crucial for safeguarding students and maintaining a secure learning environment. Educational institutions routinely screen employees, particularly those working directly with children or vulnerable populations, to verify their credentials, criminal backgrounds, and adherence to child protection policies
  • Security: The security industry places a strong emphasis on background checks to assess candidates' trustworthiness, integrity, and suitability for roles involving public safety and asset protection. Employers often examine candidates' criminal records, past employment history, and professional certifications to ensure they possess the requisite qualifications and meet regulatory requirements

Types of employee background checks in Brazil

Effective employment screening in Brazil covers essential aspects to evaluate a candidate's abilities. Knowing these areas helps employers tailor screening processes to meet job requirements and legal standards.

Type of Check Common in Brazil? Reason
Criminal record check Common Ensures the candidate has no history of criminal activity that could pose a risk to the organization
Employment verification Common Validates the candidate's work history and performance, crucial for assessing their qualifications
Reference check Common Provides insights into the candidate's character and work ethic through past colleagues or supervisors
Educational background verification Common Ensures the candidate possesses the required education and skills for the role
Credit history check Less common Credit score checks are more common in financial institutions or positions where financial responsibility is a key requirement
Social media screening Common Social media checks are increasingly common in Brazil, as they provide insights into the candidate's professional conduct and public interactions
Drug testing Less common Primarily used in safety-sensitive industries to ensure a drug-free workplace

Background check mistakes to avoid in Brazil

Whether you’re hiring employees or independent contractors in Brazil, there are a few things you shouldn’t do as an employer when it comes to background checks:

  • Failing to obtain consent: Conducting a background check without the candidate's explicit consent violates the LGPD and can lead to legal repercussions
  • Disregarding LGPD principles: Ignoring the data protection principles outlined in the LGPD can result in fines and penalties for non-compliance
  • Discriminatory practices: Using background check information to discriminate against candidates based on protected characteristics is illegal and unethical
  • Lack of transparency: Failing to communicate the purpose and scope of the background check to the candidate can erode trust and transparency
  • Neglecting record-keeping: Inadequate documentation of the background check process can lead to challenges in demonstrating compliance with the LGPD

Step-by-step guide to employment background checks in Brazil

Employers looking to hire in Brazil should follow the list of steps below to ensure legal and effective and thorough employee background checks.

  1. Obtain candidate consent: Before conducting a background check, recruiters must obtain the candidate's explicit consent in writing, clearly outlining the purpose and scope of the investigation
  2. Data collection: Gather relevant information such as employment history, educational qualifications, and professional licenses from the candidate
  3. Third-party verification: Verify the information provided by the candidate through trusted third-party sources, such as previous employers or educational institutions
  4. Criminal background check: Conduct a criminal background check through the Brazilian Public Security Secretariat to verify if the candidate has a criminal record
  5. Credit history check: If relevant to the position, request the candidate's consent to conduct a credit history check through authorized credit bureaus
  6. Reference checks: Reach out to the candidate's professional references to validate their work experience and performance
  7. Social media screening: Respect the candidate's privacy while conducting a limited review of publicly available social media profiles to assess their professional conduct
  8. Compliance with LGPD: Ensure that you stay compliant with the LGPD after collecting confidential information during the background check process. That includes secure storage and processing
  9. Document the process: Maintain detailed records of the background check process, including the candidate's consent, information sources, and verification outcomes
  10. Inform the candidate: After completing the background check, inform the candidate of the results and provide them with an opportunity to address any discrepancies

You can also automate this process using Deel, and get the results of a fast employee background check within minutes.

Many of our processes and compliance certifications require that we conduct background checks on all full-time consultants and employees of the company. Deel makes this easy as the background check is a seamless add-on during the onboarding process. It's quick, there's no duplication of information, and the report is saved within the team member's profile for easy reference in the future.

Audrey McNicholas,

Head of Business Operations, Condor

Run employee background checks with Deel

There’s no need for HR to log into yet another platform or manually chase documents. With screenings in over 200 countries and territories (and counting), for employees and contractors, you can manage background checks for global hires with a single source of truth without leaving the Deel platform.

Are you looking for an easy and safe way to run a background check? It only takes minutes to get results with Deel.

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