The Daily Mail and the BBC reported last week that Sainsburys, one of the largest supermarkets in the United Kingdom, was forced to do an embarrassing U-turn recently after finding that a worker they had hired had previously been banned from their stores for shoplifting.

Mr Vishal Patel received a UK-wide ban from Sainsburys in 2011 after he attempted to steal a bottle of spirits from a Sainsburys store in Ipswich. He was subsequently prosecuted and received a suspended sentence from a Magistrates Court. However, he applied for a position at the Sainsburys Warren Heath store in 2012 and was, probably to his surprise, offered the job. Sainburys withdrew the job offer when the mistake was realised, though, and stated the Mr Patel had not yet started working but had only been in training. Sainsburys also claimed that Mr Patel had failed to disclose his criminal record on his application form or at the subsequent interview.

Employing convicts – what employers should be aware of

Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 an offender does not have to provide his employer with details of any spent past conviction. Equally, an employer is not entitled to take into account such offences. Employers should therefore offer employment on a conditional basis, based upon the outcome of a Criminal Records Bureau check.

As above, employers may wish to carry out a Criminal Records Bureau check (“CRB check”) on employees prior to offering them employment. This allows employers to check the records of potential employees and determine whether the applicant has been truthful.

Lying on your job application – potential consequences

If you lie to your employer on your job application, as Mr Patel did, then you can face serious consequences if your lie is discovered. This includes the possibility of being summarily dismissed for gross misconduct. Lieing to your employer will invariably be seen as a serious breach of mutual trust and confidence.

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The Direct 2 Lawyers Employment Team post daily on interesting employment law cases, Employment Tribunal judgments and Employment Appeal Tribunal judgments. All of the Employment Team posts are written by qualified specialist employment lawyers

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