In the recruitment process employers may require applicants to declare any previous criminal convictions on their application forms and documentation.
Employers should be mindful of legislation in place since 2016 and the implications of same. The Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions and Certain Disclosures) Act 2016, specified that minor convictions of 7 or more years are known as “spent”.
Job applicants are not required to declare the spent conviction or circumstances related to the spent conviction to potential employers.
So this begs the question what is and isn’t a spent conviction?
- Minor / spent convictions include motor or public order offenses received in the District Court for which the sanction received was less than a 12-month custodial sentence or 24-month suspended sentence.
- Other minor / spent convictions include other sanctions in the District Court for which the sanction received was less than a 12-month custodial sentence or 24-month suspended sentence.
- Offenses tried in the Central Criminal Court or sexual offenses are excluded. They are not deemed minor offenses or ”spent”. In other words, job applicants have to declare these convictions.
It is reasonable for job applicants not to declare convictions they reasonably deem not relevant to the job on offer.
Employers should treat job applicants with spent convictions in the same way as they treat other applicants and make an assessment on their training, education, skills, competencies and goodness of fit to the requirements of the job.
Employers should always check references for recent and relevant previous employment, given by persons with authority to do so, and apply the same format and procedure in getting references for all applicants that are being progressed to an offer regardless of whether they have criminal records or not.