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Annie Hayes



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HR Tip: Managing staff with criminal records


These questions are being answered by Learn HR, a market leader in the provision of HR and payroll training and nationally-recognised professional qualifications.

Q: We have discovered that one of our employees who handles money as part of his job has a criminal record. It will be difficult to put in special arrangements to monitor his behaviour, are we free, therefore, to dismiss him?

A: Almost certainly not. If he has at least one year's service, possession of a criminal record is insufficient reason for dismissal and any dismissal would therefore be unfair.

Secondly if the criminal record consists of sentences not exceeding 30 months imprisonment, the convictions will after a time be spent. There is a sliding scale to reflect the seriousness of the offence. For example a 30 month prison sentence, regardless of how much of the sentence was served, is wiped from the slate after 10 years.

A period of probation is wiped after five years. When the conviction is spent, the employee is entitled in law to claim that it never occurred, and if you dismiss on grounds of a discovered spent conviction, the dismissal will be judged unfair. Thirdly, bear in mind that the criminal justice system does the punishment and expects you, as part of society, to help with the rehabilitation. Has the man shown any dishonest tendencies?

He has probably learned his lesson. And should you not have in place systems to monitor the behaviour of all employees? Regular audits of cash movements should be an important element of your management controls and will minimise the chance of any of your employees acting dishonestly.

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Annie Hayes


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