What To Do If An Employee’s DBS Check Reveals Details Of A Criminal Offence
DBS checks are used by employers and recruiters to check that a candidate or current employee is suitable for the job.
Occasionally an employee’s or candidate’s DBS check will highlight details of an offence that is saved on their criminal record. This article will explore what you should do as an employer if that happens or if you suspect that you may have an offence on your criminal record that may be revealed.
How long does an offence remain on a criminal record?
The length of time that details an offence on your criminal record depends on the type of crime and the age when it was carried out.
In general, crimes that result in a conviction and are committed before a person turns 18 will be cleared within five and a half years. Convictable crimes committed after the age of 18 will be removed from the record within 11 years of conviction.
Cautions remain on a criminal record for a shorter period of time – six years for over 18s and two years for under 18s.
It must be noted that there are some crimes that are never cleared from your criminal record, which are sexual and violent crimes, as well as those related to terrorism.
Advice for employers
Discovering that an employee has committed a criminal offence through a DBS check can raise a lot of questions in an employer’s mind.
Is the individual the right person for the job? Are they trustworthy? Should you terminate their employment? Are there any legal guidelines or protocols you should follow?
The answer to these questions and dilemmas depends very much on the nature of the offence and how long ago it was committed. It is then at your discretion how to proceed.
If the criminal past of the applicant or employee is relatively minor or a long time in the past, and is completely unrelated to the job role and won’t cause a danger to others, you may decide that it is irrelevant.
If, on the other hand, the DBS check reveals a history of serious crimes that may endanger others or show a lack of trustworthiness, you are within your rights to reject the application.
Either way, you must be careful not to discuss the result of the DBS check with other employees. The individual is entitled to privacy and DBS results should be handled discreetly and not shared freely within the organisation.
Sometimes you may need to find out more about the nature of the offences, in which case you should contact the employee or candidate directly to discuss it with them, preferably in person. For example, if a candidate has a history of several drunk and disorderly offences from several years ago, but nothing since, it could be that they had a problem with alcoholism, but are now in recovery. In this case, it would be unfair to dismiss their application without first discussing it with them.
Note that if a candidate refuses to reveal the result of their DBS check or to discuss the details with you, then you are well within your rights to dismiss their application.
Advice for employees or job applicants
For job candidates that have criminal offences on their record, it is important to remember that most employers won’t automatically dismiss your application. They are duty bound to at least consider your application and discuss the details of your criminal record with you, if appropriate.
Therefore, when applying for a job, honesty is the policy. Don’t be tempted to hide your criminal past, especially if it’s likely that the employer will want a DBS check. It’s best to be upfront about it from the start.
For employees with a criminal past who are already in a job role and are asked to undertake a DBS check, again, the employer won’t necessarily terminate your employment unless the nature of the offence could mean that you pose a danger to others or a risk to the organisation.
In both cases, the final decision rests with the employee and they do have the right to dismiss applicants or employees if they discover evidence of a criminal history. The likelihood of this happening is even greater if the candidate or employee has tried to conceal it.
Making a difficult decision
As an employer, it can be a difficult decision whether to dismiss someone due to a criminal record.
In some cases it is obvious, if the candidate has a history of violent or sexual offences and the role involves working with vulnerable groups.
In other cases, it is not so obvious, especially if the crimes were committed a long time ago and the individual appears to have been rehabilitated.
The most important thing is that employers follow safeguarding rules and guidance, which is provided by the government.
For more information on DBS checks, including how to get one done online, contact us today.