Case study – Nathan – The InformationHub site made me realise that people with convictions have rights too

When he was aged 18, Nathan received a three year custodial sentence for GBH.

Twenty three years later, having put his past conviction behind him, Nathan was offered a job as a court usher. He knew that he’d need a criminal record check and was surprised that after working for 5 months, he’d still not been asked to sign the necessary consent forms.

However, it became obvious to Nathan that one of the senior members of the court staff had somehow become aware of his criminal record as they started to make comments to him such as “I know all about your past” and “You know what it’s like to be locked up”. He also began to be excluded from team briefings and given menial tasks to carry out.

Nathan assumed that the court must have been able to access his criminal record without his knowledge or his consent. He didn’t feel that he could continue working for an organisation that, despite knowing about his conviction, chose not to have a meaningful discussion with him about it.

Disappointed at the way his criminal record had been dealt with, Nathan searched the internet for information about criminal record checks and discovered that the court didn’t have access to the PNC and couldn’t carry out checks without his consent. He has made a formal complaint to the court and is awaiting a response.

Nathan said:

“Looking at the information on the hub site made me realise that I had been treated badly and this gave me the confidence to make a complaint to the court. Once I realised the value of the website, I immediately signed up to receive updates so that I can keep abreast of any changes to the law which may benefit me “.

Lessons

Although there is little protection in law to stop people with convictions being discriminated against by employers, it’s important to know that under data protection legislation, criminal record data is dealt with as a special category of data and there are particular safeguards in place that employers have to be aware of when collecting and storing this information. Once Nathan became aware that his employers were not able to access details of his criminal record without his consent, he felt more confident in making a complaint to them.

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Notes about this case study

This case study relates to our information site.

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

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