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Patricia – Proof of disclosing for employment disputes

Patricia contacted our helpline for advice after her employer had threatened to suspend her for non-disclosure of her criminal record.

Patricia told us that she had been employed by her present company for approximately 3 years. Knowing that her convictions would show on her Disclosure and Barring Service check, she disclosed them to her line manager at her interview. She recalled that she’d had quite a long conversation about her past and was pretty sure that her manager had made some notes about it.

As part of her company’s employment practices, all eligible employees were required to have a new DBS check every three years. Patricia told us that she hadn’t been worried about this as she knew there wasn’t going to be anything different on her certificate. However, her line manager had called her into his office to tell her that her DBS check had come back showing three convictions which they said they had been unaware of and it was likely that she would be suspended whilst further investigations were carried out. Patricia was devastated by the news – she’d always had an excellent employment record without any kind of disciplinary action and, her convictions were almost 40 years ago.

We asked Patricia whether she had any proof of her disclosure. She told us that she thought she’d ticked the ‘Yes’ box on the application form and she remembered her line manager taking notes at her interview but she knew that she hadn’t put anything in writing herself.

We tried to reassure Patricia that it was not a foregone conclusion that she was going to be suspended or sacked and, even if this was the eventual outcome, she did have some employment rights. We advised her to arrange a meeting with her line manager at which time she should highlight that:-


  • She had disclosed that she had a conviction by ticking the ‘Yes’ box on the application form.
  • She was able to recall disclosing the nature of her conviction at interview and felt sure that notes had been taken.
  • Reiterate that her conviction was almost 40 years ago, she’d had a clean record ever since and there had been no complaints about her work or performance in the previous 3 years.


We asked Patricia to get in touch with us if her company did decide to suspend her and we would look at what extra support we could provide her with.

Several weeks later Patricia contacted us again to let us know that following our advice, the HR department had accepted that she had previously disclosed her conviction and that they would not be taking the matter any further.

Patricia stated:-


‘When I initially rang Unlock, I was in a total panic. I wasn’t able to focus on anything other than being suspended and sacked. The advisor took the time to listen to me and set out my options in a really logical way. Unlock gave me the confidence I needed to deal with the situation’.



When applying for a job and disclosing a criminal record, we advise applicants to keep a record of what they’ve disclosed as this can be useful in the event of a dispute further down the line.

Notes about this case study

This case study relates to Unlocks helpline.

Names and details have been changed to protect the identity of those involved.

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