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“Second chances don’t feel like they exist if you’ve been convicted of a sexual offence”

Dean was delighted to find a job with a really supportive employer and didn’t think for a minute that he’d be dismissed 9 months later after head office had sight of his DBS certificate.

Back in September 2018 I applied for a job delivering and collecting courtesy cars. There was a box on the application form asking if I had any unspent convictions and then another box underneath asking for further details.

This question filled me with dread as I knew that ticking the ‘Yes’ box would always reduce my chances of success. So not feeling too optimistic, I put my cross in the ‘Yes’ box and went on to explain that I’d been convicted of downloading indecent images.

A few days later I was invited for an interview. It went really well, the manager was easy to talk to and really put me at ease and at the end of the meeting he asked me when I could start and offered me a job. He told me that I would need a basic DBS check but, as I’d disclosed my conviction I wasn’t unduly worried.

On my first day at work I filled out the forms for the criminal record check and then off I went to get my task for the day.

I absolutely loved the job, I was driving all day clocking up between 40-50 hours per week but as I loved it so much it didn’t feel like work.

Nothing had been said about my criminal record check so I assumed that all was well with it. I was surprised that they hadn’t told me they’d received it but I wasn’t too worried.

I’d been working for the company for just over three months when I was called into the managers office. He told me that there had been a problem submitting my DBS application (I think they’d forgotten to do it) and asked me if I could give him some further details about my conviction. I had nothing to hide and told him what I’d been convicted of and the disposal I’d received. I explained what had led me to offend and what I’d been doing since – completing a probation course and building up a network of support around me. I wanted my manager to know that I was a different person now and I was ashamed of the person I’d been. He made notes but he seemed fine, in fact he was very supportive.

Everything carried on as normal until about 4 months ago when I was told that the company would be applying again for my basic DBS. I signed the form and gave consent for the certificate to go straight to head office – why wouldn’t I, nothing was going to show up that they didn’t know already.

Two weeks later my manager asked to speak to me. His first words to me were:

I’m so sorry and I want you to know that I did everything I could.

He went on to tell me that having seen the DBS certificate head office had told him that he had to terminate my contract. He was close to tears as he told me that he had no problem with me or my work and he’d be happy to give me a character reference if I needed one in the future.

I never tried to hide my conviction; I’m not proud of it but it is my past. My manager and other staff knew my story and I got on well with all of them. I think head office were worried about their reputation but I spent very little time with customers and I’d only ever introduce myself using my first name. It seems a knee jerk reaction by head office. I’d been at the company for 9 months without any issues.

I knew I worked hard and I did a good job. I was polite and courteous to customers and had the full support of my manager. However, with all those things in my favour, head office still couldn’t see beyond my conviction and give me a second chance.

By Dean  (name changed to protect identity)


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