Employees and their criminal past

legal_updates

An applicant is under no obligation to reveal spent convictions.

Author: Roxanne Bradley
Published:
Reading time: 2 minutes

This article is 2 years old.

Read our disclaimer keyboard_arrow_down

This website content is intended as a general guide to law as it applies to the motor trade. Lawgistics has taken every effort to ensure that the contents are as accurate and up to date as at the date of first publication.

The laws and opinions expressed within this website may be varied as the law develops. As such we cannot accept liability for or the consequence of, any change of law, or official guidelines since publication or any misuse of the information provided.

The opinions in this website are based upon the experience of the authors and it must be recognised that only the courts and recognised tribunals can interpret the law with authority.

Examples given within the website are based on the experience of the authors and centre upon issues that commonly give rise to disputes. Each situation in practice will be different and may comprise several points commented upon.

If you have any doubt about the correct legal position you should seek further legal advice from Lawgistics or a suitably qualified solicitor. We cannot accept liability for your failure to take professional advice where it should reasonably be sought by a prudent person.

All characters are fictitious and should not be taken as referring to any person living or dead.

Use of this website shall be considered acceptance of the terms of the disclaimer presented above.

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 – the ‘rehabilitation period’ means that after a certain period of time, job applicants do not need to tell potential employers about most crimes that have been committed in the past.

The rehabilitation period will be dependent on the sentence that the applicant received/punishment received. After the sentence, the conviction will be deemed as spent which means the applicant doesn’t not need to disclose. 

Before a conviction is spent, the applicant will only have to inform the employer about the past crime if asked.

Details of the rehabilitation periods can be found here https://www.gov.uk/exoffenders-and-employment

Where an applicant for employment is asked questions regarding any spent convictions, offences, conduct or circumstances, he/she may refuse to answer these questions, or may lie about the circumstances, and in either case must not be placed under any legal restriction by so doing i.e. refused the job on that ground. 

In other words, an employer may not under the Act, ask a prospective employee if he/she has spent convictions during recruitment. 
The employer may ask if the individual has convictions, but the applicant is under no obligation to reveal spent convictions and may answer no.

For other convictions, job applicants or employees are under no general legal duty to voluntarily disclose such information unless they are specifically asked about their past criminal record. 

However, where an employer directly questions an employee or job applicant about previous unspent convictions, a deliberately dishonest or evasive reply may subsequently constitute grounds for a fair dismissal or result in the applicant being unsuccessful.

The Act does not apply to some occupations. In the retail motor industry this would apply to chartered accountants, certified accountants, solicitors, or nurses, although only the larger companies in the industry are likely to employ such people.

Roxanne Bradley

Legal Advisor

Read more by this author

Getting in touch

You can contact us via the form or you can call us on 01480 455500.