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The UK Supreme Court has recently ruled that it is a breach of human rights to force people to disclose minor offences or childhood crimes on job applications, a decision which will now apply to all job applicants in the UK.
The ruling comes as a result of two similar cases. The first case was brought by a man who was denied a part-time job and a place at university because of two police cautions he received aged 11; while the second case came from a 41 year old woman who was cautioned for theft of a packet of fingernails in 2001, which caused her to be barred from working in the care sector even though she had spent years training as a care worker.
It is hoped that the decision will help job-seekers find work who had previously been stigmatised by minor offences.
Human rights and privacy campaigners have welcomed the decision. The Equality and Human Rights Commission said that the Supreme Court had "sensibly recognised" it is unfair for minor childhood offences to impact upon employment prospects in adult life.
Rebecca Hilsenrath, chief executive of the Commission said, "A warning given for a relatively trivial offence committed many years ago by a child, who has not reoffended, has no relevance to how that person could be safely employed to work as an adult".
Job applicants should be aware that minor and childhood offences will still have to be disclosed when applying for certain positions – particularly those involving work with children or vulnerable adults.
For help understand what this case means for job applicants or employers, please get in touch with our employment lawyers in Edinburgh. You can do so by completing our online enquiry form. Alternatively, please call 0131 208 3459.