A TEENAGER says she was turned down for a school job after a criminal record check revealed she was involved in a brawl – when she was just 12.
Hayley Dixon, who was given a police caution over a playground scrap seven years ago, only discovered she was blacklisted after applying for a business administration apprenticeship through an employment agency.
At a time when teenagers across the country are struggling to find work, the Hendon 19-year-old was delighted to get a conditional offer of a position at a Sunderland primary school.
But Hayley was left stunned when she received the rejection letter soon after.
“They rang me up and told me that I hadn’t got the job because this was on my record,” she told the Echo. “I couldn’t believe it.”
Despite a caution not being classed as a conviction, it is kept on police records until the offender is 18, or for five years after its issue. However, it may be disclosed to employers in certain circumstances, such as work involving children.
“It just seems so unfair,” she said. “I had to agree to the caution at the time.
“I was told at the time it was classed as some sort of ‘public disturbance’.
“I was never involved in any fighting. I was only at the scene, but I agreed to it just to put an end to it.
“If I knew it was going to stay on my record for the rest of my life, I would never have gone along with it. I would have fought it all the way.”
Hayley, who lives with mum Diane, 40, and brother James, 20, said she now fears the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check will prevent her getting other positions.
“This was going to be my long-term job,” she said.
“I’d been through the interview process and everything went really well.
“It was a one-year apprenticeship, but there was a very good chance I would have been kept on.
“They wanted someone enthusiastic and keen and I fitted the bill.”
Background checks are regularly carried out for employment applications, and details can be sent directly to current or potential employers.
“Surely something like this shouldn’t affect people after so long,” said Hayley.
“It’s like signing a contract and then changing it without letting the person know.
“I’ll just have to look elsewhere for work, but it’s going to be very hard to get the job I want.
“I’ve managed to get some temporary work over Christmas, but I don’t know what I’ll do then.
“It’s hard enough to find a job, without something like this hanging over you.”
The Home Office, which oversees the CRB check system, has previously pointed out that, in recent years, they have prevented tens of thousands unsuitable people, nation-wide, from working with vulnerable groups.
A spokesman said: “CRB checks are not a substitute for good managerial practice or employers using their own discretion.
“Businesses are advised that a criminal conviction or caution should not automatically discount someone from a job.
“Cautions are only given out when someone has accepted responsibility for the offence.
“They should be advised at the time that this may be disclosed in the future.”
Hayley’s concerns have been reported to the CRB disclosure team which dealt with her case.