It has always been difficult for ex-offenders to seek employment despite the fact that many ex-offenders are totally rehabilitated and their conviction stemmed from a turbulent and troublesome incident in the past.
The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 outlaws discrimination against such people and was amended in 2012 by Section 139 of the Legal Aid sentencing and Punishment Offenders Act which became law on 10th March 2014.
Basically both the Candidate and the potential employer have rights under this legislation as well as constraints they both have to comply with.
If your conviction is considered “Spent” and you are applying for a job which is not on the list below of Exempt jobs, then if asked about any convictions you have you can answer None on both the application form and at interview.
If your targeted job sector is Not on the Exempt List then it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against you on the ground of a Spent conviction.
If you have an “Unspent” conviction which you have not declared you can be dismissed.
Spent Convictions 18+ – from time of sentence ending including licence period:
Community Orders – 1 year
6 months or less – 2 years
Over 6 months but up to and including 30 months – 4 years
Over 30 months but up to 48 months – 7 years
Over 48 months or a Public Protection sentence – Never Spent.
There are certain occupations that are exempt from the Act. If a job is deemed exempt but you think that this is wrong consult your Citizens Advice Bureau, or the Crime Reduction Charity NACRO at www.nacro.org.uk
If you are intending to seek employment with:
Children & Vulnerable Adults.
Senior positions in the Banking and the Financial Services industry.
The Judiciary and the Police.
The Prison Service
Health, Pharmacy & the Law
Private Security Work
then you must disclose any spent and unspent convictions either on the Application Form or during the interview stage. It might be beneficial if you sent in an attachment about any convictions, how they arose and how they have affected you.
It’s a complex Act to understand – for more information seek advice from your Citizens Advice Bureau, or NACRO, if needed.