Retailers can now access a new national database which contains details of staff who have been sacked for acts of dishonesty, such as theft of money and merchandise.
The National Staff Dismissal Register (NSDR) also includes details of staff who have been dismissed or have left employment while under investigation for forgery of documents or damage to company property.
Mike Schuck, chief executive of Action Against Business Crime (AABC), which helped to develop the register, said: "Retail provides many opportunities to dishonest employees, and investigation of dishonesty is time-consuming and costly. As a result, we are pleased to have launched the NSDR and look forward to it providing a valuable service."
Critics of the scheme say that it could penalise innocent victims who have been falsely accused of misconduct.
Retail losses from staff theft and fraud average £497m each year, AABC says.