What is Employee Disclosure?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 11 October 2019
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Employee disclosures are simply declarations of information that have a bearing on the status of the individual as a prospective or current employee. Often, employee disclosure processes will include providing the employee with a listing of various criminal acts and asking the employee to confirm or deny that he or she has ever been convicted of any of those crimes. Failure to be forthcoming during the disclosure process is usually considered grounds for rejecting the application of a prospective employee or dismissal of a current employee.

The degree of employee disclosure that must take place varies from one setting to the next. In some cases, jurisdictional regulations sets the standard for what type of information the employee is committed to reveal to his or her employer. At the same time, the regulations create limits on what type of information that the employer can request from a prospective or current employee. For example, many jurisdictions prohibit the employer from asking a prospective employee to reveal his or her sexual orientation or religious preference.


For the most part, an employee disclosure involves providing data that has a direct bearing on the ability of the employee to perform his or her assigned duties properly. This includes providing information about experience, formal training, and educational credentials in general. Should the employee choose to embellish any of those elements, or intentionally include information that is false, the employer can determine that disclosure fraud has taken place, and dismiss the employee. At the same time, intentionally omitting relevant information can also be considered fraud and be grounds for dismissal.

Many industries set standards for employee disclosure. One example is found in the brokerage industry. The National Association of Securities Dealers has put in place what is commonly referred to as NASD disclosure standards. If it is discovered that a broker has not been truthful about his or her background or educational credentials, the current employer can terminate the individual. There is also the possibility that this failure to make full disclosure will lead to the broker being blackballed from participation in various markets, effectively making it impossible to continue working in the profession.

In recent years, employee disclosure forms have moved from a general format to one that is very specific in terms of the type of information required. In the United States, many state government agencies as well as private employers are allowed to proactively request information related to specific types of criminal activities. This is especially true in situations where the employee would be working with children, or a past criminal record for assault, theft, or other crimes would directly impact the ability of the individual to perform his or her duties, or potentially place others in danger.

While some types of work require very little in the way of employee disclosure, others are highly detailed. The underlying concept behind disclosure laws and regulations is to ensure that the security of the employer is protected, and that current employees and customers are protected from the possibility of coming to harm as a result of the hiring of someone with questionable credentials or a criminal record. Any employee who fails to comply with whatever level of disclosure is required for the job faces possible dismissal, or even legal problems as a result of the failure to provide full disclosure.


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