As part of our employment project, we’ve produced some short stories based on the experiences of people with convictions finding work.
Each of the stories show something different, as we explain below. However, although every situation is unique, we think that the stories serve as a helpful way or showing the importance of supporting employers to recruit people with convictions and in challenging employment discrimination.
We’ve uploaded all three videos onto our YouTube account, but you should be able to watch each of them below. We’ll also be using them as part of our work to support and challenge employers.
We’re grateful to the three individuals who took part, as well as all of those who got in touch after we put a call out for volunteers. We’d also like to thank Carlotta Allum for her help us in producing the digital stories.
Steve’s experience shows how, since a minor incident when he was 19, he forged a successful career in the City for the next 16 years, but then it caught up on him. When he applied for his ‘dream job’, he disclosed his minor conviction as the employer had suggested he needed to. Their response was that they could no longer offer him the job.
He believed honesty was the best policy and that he wouldn’t be judged on that one moment, instead that he would be credited for the last 14 years.
His experience shows the importance of employers being clear to applicants what they do and don’t need to disclose; Steve didn’t need to disclose because of his conviction is now legally ‘protected’. Legally, his employer had a legal duty to disregard it and they’ve left themselves open to potential legal issues.
Finally, it shows the importance of employers looking beyond what they see on paper. Steve’s minor conviction from 16 years ago was no longer relevant to his job role. His potential employer should have been able to work this out. Given they didn’t, they clearly have to work to do to improve their recruitment practice.
Ricky’s experience of applying for work with a criminal record shows the benefit of employers that ‘ban the box’ from application forms and deals with criminal records at the job offer stage, giving people a chance to be interviewed on their merits.
His story also shows the importance of looking behind what you might see on paper – the circumstances surrounding a particular drugs offence on his record causes him particular problems as employers rarely give him a chance to explain the circumstances.
Sean’s experience shows how important it is for people with convictions to be supported by mainstream employment support agencies to help them into employment.
He was rejected from jobs because he was overqualified. He found it frustrating that probation didn’t have the means to help him back into work and didn’t have links with local employers and recruitment agencies.
He feels that employers should find out more from applicants – those that are willing to open up about their past will enable the employer to get a better understanding and take a more balanced approach.
Written by Christopher Stacey, Co-Director of Unlock
- All three videos can be viewed and shared on our YouTube account
- You can find out more about our project to challenge employment discrimination here or get in touch with us.