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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 45315
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I had been offered a position as a Social Work Manager with

Resolved Question:

I had been offered a position as a Social Work Manager with a local authority working via an Agency. On providing my CRB i have been informed that the offer has to be withdrawn as i have a historic conviction of 'failure to notify change of circumstances' (Benefit Fraud) in 1996. I have explained that i only i earned £250 in a summer youth work job and i disclosed this to the benefits agency after the event, once paid.
I have been told that there is a 'zero tolerance' policy from this Authority on benefit fraud, though the managers that interviewed me were unaware of this when they offered the post. i did disclose this at the interview.
I have worked for 15 years as a social worker/manager with a number of Local Authorities who have never raised this as an issue.
I gave up one job and declined another to take up this position, now have been told no thanks.
This 'zero tolerance' policy seems discriminatory to me, does not take into account the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act and for an offence committed over 18 years ago. I will have no access to money in this post either?
Any help would be appreciated
Regards
Gary
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Ben Jones : Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Was the offer conditional on anything and were you asked to declare this in the application process?
Customer:

The offer is always conditional on good references and CRB checks. I disclosed my conviction at interview and was offered the post. The references are excellent and my CRB has never been aproblem in this field for 15 years.

Customer:

Can they have a blanket zero tolerance policy on one type of conviction?

Ben Jones :

I am afraid they can. Whilst the Rehabilitation Act exists to try and prevent such occurrences, it only requests that employers do not consider spent convictions, etc - it does not actually allow affected employees to claim against the employer in these circumstances. So if the employer has ignored the ROA then sadly the law does not allow the employee to take the matter any further. Also there are exceptions to the Act - it does not apply to all employment scenarios, there are areas, such as those dealing with children or vulnerable adults, to consider all past criminal history, regardless of whether it is spent or not. This is not discriminaiton from a legal point of view - it may seem like a draconian policy but it is not unlawful

Customer:

I gave up one position and declined another on this job offer, with the interviewers knowing about my conviction and making the offer after interview. can this not be challenged? Surely they should have been aware of this blanket policy which would have prevented the offer being made? Financially i am going to be well out of pocket until i get another job.

Ben Jones :

What is your contractual notice period in this job, if the employer was to dismiss you?

Customer:

No notice, its via an agency.

Ben Jones :

Sorry do you mean you were going t be an agency worker?

Customer:

Yes, that's correct

Ben Jones :

As an agency worker you have rather limited rights unfortunately, less than if you were a permanent employee – you are simply employed on an as needed basis, meaning that you have no guaranteed ongoing employment with the client with which you are placed. You are not legally protected against unfair dismissal and you could be removed at any time and for more or less any reason. As this situation is not discrimination as far as the law is concerned you will not get any protection in the circumstances so unfortunately you would not be able to challenge this. It is more of a moral argument that you have, but not a legal one I’m afraid

Ben Jones :

I'm sorry if this is not necessarily the answer you wanted to hear but I hope you understand I have a duty to be honest and explain the law as it actually stands and sometimes this does unfortunately mean delivering bad news from time to time. Please let me know if you need me to clarify anything.

Customer:

That's fine, thanks. It helps me put closure on the situation. Can you answer one more question and i will sign off.

Customer:

Can they put a blanket policy in across the whole council re not employing anyone who has committed benefit fraud, regardless of the circumstances or when it happened?

Ben Jones :

yes they can - this is not unlawful, it is not discrimination as it does not concern one's personal characteristics, such as age, gender, race, religion, disability etc

Customer:

ok. thanks

Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 45315
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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