Case study – Challenging a Community Rehabilitation Company regarding the failings in their recruitment process

We were contacted by an individual after she’d been dismissed from her job as a receptionist with a Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC). When she’d applied for the job, she was aware that she’d need a basic DBS check and, as her conviction was spent, she didn’t disclose it to the employer. However, after starting the job a member of the CRC staff recognised her and mentioned her conviction to the CRC manager. She was called into the manager’s office where she disclosed her conviction and was instantly dismissed.

We contacted the CRC to raise the following concerns:

  1. As the receptionist role was covered by the ROA and only required a basic DBS check, the individual had no legal obligation to disclose her conviction to the CRC. Following her disclosure, the employer should have disregarded the details of her spent conviction. It appeared however that the individual had been denied a job based solely on her spent conviction which meant that the CRC could be in “breach of statutory duty” which could result in legal action being taken against them.
  2. Whilst the CRC had a policy around the recruitment of ex-offenders, they appeared not to have followed it in this case.

We were contacted by the CRC who stated that the individual’s spent conviction had not been the only factor in their decision to dismiss her. They confirmed that they did employ people with a criminal record but acknowledged that in this case there had been failings in the recruitment process. They would review their policies to ensure that similar issues did not arise again in the future.

 

Lessons

This case shows how difficult it can be for individuals to keep their job if their employer becomes aware of their criminal record, even when they had no legal obligation to disclose it. Employers could be in “breach of a statutory duty” if they dismiss someone purely on the basis of their spent conviction. However, this can be difficult to prove and employers will often cite other factors for dismissal.

Although the CRC acknowledged that there had been failings in their recruitment process, they still wouldn’t reconsider their decision to reinstate the individual.

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Notes about this case study

This case study relates to Unlock’s work with organisations.

Names and details have been changed to protect the identity of those involved.

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