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.