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Google, ‘Do the right thing’ – don’t take my spent conviction into account when making recruitment decisions

In 2019 Google adopted the motto “do the right thing” to encourage it’s employees to be civil to one another and not break the law. However, as George discovered, this didn’t stop them from flouting the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act and taking his spent conviction into account when considering his future employment with them.

I’ll start my ‘story’ back in 2017 when I was a serving police officer, a role I enjoyed and took great pride in.

That year, whilst on holiday in Germany with my then partner, she reported me to the local German police following a domestic incident.

It took the German police approximately 18 months to consider my case at which time I was given the option to attend a court hearing in Germany or pay a fine. As the matter had been going on for so long, I agreed to pay the fine in the hope that I could put the whole thing behind me and move on.

My employers, the police, became aware of the incident in Germany and I was told that a Misconduct Hearing would be held ‘at some time’. I knew that as a serving police officer any type of assault would be considered a breach of professional behaviour and conduct and I therefore made the decision to resign. The hearing hadn’t taken place and I assumed that as I was no longer employed by the police, the matter would be dropped.

At the start of 2020, I was offered a job with Google and was looking forward to a new career with the large multinational technology company.

I’d been working for Google for 3 months when I was asked to attend a meeting with my line manager and a member of the HR team. I was amazed when they told me that they’d received an anonymous telephone call informing them that I’d been the subject of a Gross Misconduct Hearing held by the police in March 2020. The caller also provided details of the outcome of the hearing which was that, had I been a serving police officer at the time of the hearing, I would have been dismissed. I was asked why I’d not mentioned this hearing either at my interview, or since and, after explaining that I’d not been invited to attend or provided with a written record of the outcome, I was told that Google would be taking no further action.

However, a month later the police published details of the hearing online which stated that:

All allegations were proven as misconduct and therefore the former officer would have been dismissed if he had still been serving.

There was also a reference made to the conviction that I’d received in Germany.

I was called to another meeting with senior managers at Google which resulted in my dismissal. I was told that my failure to disclose my conviction or details of the gross misconduct hearing had destroyed the working relationship between myself and Google.

Throughout Google’s recruitment process, they’d never asked me whether

  • I had a criminal record
  • I’d previously been dismissed from a job
  • I’d previously attended any misconduct hearings.

I didn’t feel that I could just accept Google’s decision and so I lodged an appeal. I applied for my own basic DBS check and German conviction certificate, both of which came back blank which I included with my letter of appeal.

My appeal was denied.

I am now in the process of contacting various newspapers trying to get articles about me removed from the internet. I’ve had varying levels of success and I will continue to fight with those that have refused.

I am also considering bring a case against Google for breach of statutory duty as I believe they have taken into account my spent conviction, clearly breaching the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act.

By George (name changed to protect identity)

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