Employing ex-offenders

Equal Opportunities

Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 many ex-offenders are given certain employment rights if their convictions become ‘spent’.  Anyone who has been convicted of a criminal offence and who is not convicted of a further offence during a specified period (the ‘rehabilitation period’) becomes a ‘rehabilitated person’.

This means that:

  • The conviction does not have to be declared for most purposes, such as applying for a job
  • Employees are given protection against dismissal or exclusion from any office, profession, occupation or employment (with some exceptions) because of their spent conviction
  • Employers cannot prejudice a person in any way because of a spent conviction

A conviction resulting in a prison sentence of more than 48 months can never become spent. There are some exceptions to the Act – broadly relating to work with children, the sick, disabled people and the administration of justice.

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