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Hiring Practices in Switzerland

As a general rule, the employer may handle data concerning the employee only to the extent that such data concern the employee’s suitability for this job or are necessary for the performance of the employment contract. This also applies to pre-employment screening and hiring practices.

Consequently, to give some examples,

  • it is permitted to ask the candidate for an excerpt from the criminal register to the extent that the position in question justifies asking (e.g, for positions requiring higher trustworthiness).
  • Medical checks may be requested only to the extent that this is justified by the work involved (e.g. dealing with heavy workloads or dangerous jobs where physical fitness is a requirement).
  • Drug screening is justified only to the extent that it is required due to the work involved (e.g. for truck drivers or dangerous jobs where physical fitness is required).
  • Credit checks are generally not permissible unless the position in question justifies such a check (eg, bankers, accountants or lawyers).

Employers cannot screen a candidate’s social media accounts. However, professional sites such as LinkedIn and Xing may be screened. Employers may contact references given in an applicant’s CV or job application.

For more information on these articles or any other issues involving labour and employment matters in Switzerland, please contact Humbert Heinzen Lerch
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