For a lot of people, an unforeseen consequence of being charged with a criminal record is that you may be disqualifying yourself from certain careers or opportunities. It’s fairly common for potential employers to perform background checks when they’re hiring potential new employees. It is not done without prejudice or malice but rather just to protect their company from potential risks. Whilst it’s not a hard and fast rule, many employers won’t hire people with a criminal record.
Understanding Australian Law
Under Australian law, an employer may refuse to hire a person with a criminal history if and only if that criminal record means that the individual will be unable to perform the “inherent requirements” of the specific job he or she is applying for.
Which Jobs Can’t You Do?
The laws are different across the country and alter slightly state-by-state however, here is a list of industries that by and large you will be unable to be hired in if you have a criminal record.
Here are ten industries in which a criminal record would affect your credibility and ability to get hired.
- Truck driving, courier or any type of delivery service: A criminal record of charges related to drunk driving or other driving-related offences will likely stop you from getting work as a driver. If you’re going to be delivering packages or mail, a history of theft charges will hold you back.
- Jobs in the financial industry will not hire prospects with a criminal background in theft, forgery or embezzlement.
- You will be unable to work in the medical field if you’ve been convicted of any type of abuse or domestic violence charge. Human Resources for hospitals and doctor’s offices will not hire individuals with a background in theft or drug abuse.
- You cannot work as a teacher or with children in any capacity if you are unable to obtain a Working With Children’s check which you will not be granted if you have been convicted of some type of sex crime, abuse charge, assault or any serious crime.
- You may not be able to work as a clerk or a cashier if you have been convicted of theft because of a lack of trust and credibility when it comes to handling money.
- You may not be able to work in any government position if you’ve been convicted of a drug felony.
- If you have a criminal background, you may be unable to open a business of your own if in doing so you will need to be bonded as a bond requires financial trust from third party insurers.
- If you’re looking for a white-collared job as a business manager or to be hired in high powered public-facing executive positions you are unlikely to make the cut if you have any kind of criminal record.
- A restaurant or hotel would potentially hire an individual with a criminal record, but only for non-customer contact positions that don’t involve the handling of money or valuables.
- Transportation industry positions will not hire individuals with a criminal background if your charges are driving-related, think speeding, drunk driving or reckless driving offences.
With the exception of a few positions listed above the hiring is not as much a matter of law or rather a commentary on the frame of mind that the business owner is in and whether he or she is willing to accept you as a result of the offence.
So, it is worth asking: is this discrimination?
A few key facts for you to keep in mind:
- In Australia, it is illegal to discriminate against individuals based on a criminal record if that individual’s crime does not relate to the job. For example, refusing to hire a baker because the individual has a criminal record of driving while intoxicated is illegal.
- Licensing organisations create their own rules in terms of providing licensing to individuals with criminal backgrounds. Professional membership associations will often refuse to allow individuals into their organisation if they have a criminal background.
- If you believe you’ve been discriminated against, it can be very challenging to prove in a court of law. The law is not very precise in determining inherent requirements for many positions so the fight might be difficult but, if you believe that you’ve been discriminated against and you’re in the position to fight it, then you should go for it.
Employers may not hire someone because of their criminal record but hide the reasoning behind their choice. For example, if ten people apply for the position, he or she can simply claim another candidate was a better fit for the company.
These are just a few examples of the many jobs you may be unable to obtain if you have a criminal record. In many situations, individuals should take every step possible to fight such charges when they feel they have been unjustly discriminated against. Equally, employers have the right to protect their business and their employees.
If you believe you are being discriminated against based on your criminal history you can work with a lawyer to prove this in a court of law.
Additionally, if you’re currently in the midst of a criminal-related case and are worried about your future job prospects, contact us today and brief us on your matter. LY Lawyers is the most trusted criminal lawyers in Sydney and can help with your defence.