On this page:
- The golden rule
- Exceptions to the golden rule – When you might disclose
- Exceptions to the golden rule – When you might not disclose
- If your asked to disclose and don’t when you should have
The golden rule – “You only have to disclose if you’re asked”
- Our general view is that you shouldn’t voluntarily disclose.
- If an employer wants to know, then they should ask you.
Exceptions to the golden rule – When you might disclose even if you’re not asked
Although you legally don’t have to disclose unless you’re asked, it’s sometimes not as simple as that. Technically, you won’t have done anything wrong by not disclosing if you’re not asked, but ultimately, it can be hard to challenge an employer who later finds out, particularly if you’ve only recently started the job, as you have very few legal rights. There’s a couple of scenarios that we often come across where, on reflection, individuals may have been better-off disclosing. However, this is ultimately something you have to decide in your own case.
This might apply in the following situations:
Most employment positions that are not covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 will involve a standard or enhanced check. Even if they don’t ask about convictions or criminal records during the initial recruitment process, they might state in their company policy that they will do. Yet remember – they’ll still need your consent before being able to do a criminal record check on you.
Exceptions to the golden rule – When you might not disclose even if you are asked
This might apply in three particular situations:
- If the job is covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, you only have to disclose unspent convictions – even if the employer asks you to disclose spent convictions too.
- If the job is not covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act and an employer is doing a standard or enhanced check, you only have to disclose cautions and convictions that are not yet filtered – even if they employer asks you to disclose “all” cautions and convictions.
If you’re asked to disclose and you don’t when you should have
Some people take a risk and choose not to disclose even when they should have.
- The employer might not check
- You might think you’re more likely to get the job
- If it’s just temporary work, you might think it’s worth the risk
- You might want to get a chance to prove yourself before they find out
- The employer could see it as a breach of trust
- The employer could withdraw their job offer
- The employer will have grounds for dismissal at a later stage
- You could be prosecuted – for example, under s.2 of the Fraud Act 2006. There are examples like this.
- If you’re on licence, you could be recalled
- You’ll be forever looking over your shoulder