Case study – Jennifer – Making a conscious decision to disclose my spent conviction still got me the job of CEO

Jennifer contacted our helpline when she was applying for a job as the Chief Executive Officer of a large, well-known organisation.

She explained that the wording on the application form was a little unclear as it asked:

Do you have any cautions or convictions?

Jennifer was also unsure whether her conviction was spent and wanted some advice around disclosing it to the employer.

We asked Jennifer for further details about her conviction and the job she was applying for. As a result of this, we were able to advise her that her conviction was now spent and from the information she had provided about the job, we explained that it was likely to be covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and so she wouldn’t need to disclose details of her conviction. If the company chose to carry out a basic criminal record check, her certificate would come back ‘clear’.

Jennifer felt that in light of the position she was applying for, she should disclose her conviction. She did not want it to come to light once she had started the job and potentially bring the company into disrepute.

Our advisor explained that, if she was making that choice, she should only disclose to a relevant senior member of the company, for example, the Head of Human Resources, and that she should explain that even though legally she did not need to disclose, it was important to her to do so.

Jennifer got back in touch with us and said:

I discreetly disclosed my conviction to the HR Director and was told that it was not a problem. However, they did appreciate my letting them know and my reasons for doing so.

 

Lessons

Unlock’s advice would always be to only disclose a conviction when you’re asked to do so. However, if you are worried about it coming to light perhaps because of the high profile job you’re applying for, or maybe because there is a lot of information available online about you, then it may be in your best interest to disclose even though legally you may not have to.

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Notes about this case study

This case study relates to Unlock’s helpline.

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

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