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Help please

 
#1 Help please
28/06/2014 18:33

jm

I could use your advice.

Just over 4 years ago I made a stupid mistake, I was convicted of a drink driving offence (dr10) received an 18 month ban and a fine. I asked my solicitor if I needed to notify my employer, to which she advised "only if you are required to drive for work", which I don't. So I did not notify them, I hid my shame and didn't tell a soul in the office.

A recent look at my employee handbook however states that I must notify HR immediately about any convictions.

I work in back office operations at an investment bank. I'm terrified, I should notify them but will I lose my job if I do?

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#2 RE: Help please
28/06/2014 21:20

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to jm (#1)

Wow, this is really worrying you isn't it. Four years on and you're still losing sleep over it.

Firstly, calm down.

Secondly, you've taken legal advice and that's worth something.

I feel that full disclosure may be what what the bank wants, as they're more interested I imagine in hat it means about character and integrity rather than the specific nature of the offence itself.

But, you didn't do time and it's a motoring conviction right? This is NOT legal advice but I would have thought you could do as your solicitor suggested and not mention it and ten if try do ever find out just say you didn't think it was relevant? And after a while it might get rubbed off your record if they do a CRB check anyway?

Just stay calm and please try not to worry. Worrying doesn't fix anything.

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#3 RE: Help please
28/06/2014 23:55

jm to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#2)

Thank you for your advice.

To be honest I hadn't thought about it for years, but I was promoted recently to assume a managers position and required to know the handbook inside and out. When I got to the section concerning convictions my heart stopped.

My biggest concern is that they may dismiss me for not notifying them as soon as it happened. I've been running it round in my head for the last couple of days. I'm considering updating my CV and trying to find a new job and disclose during the application. I don't want to risk a disciplinary and a bad reference, the combination of that and the conviction could mean that I'll be unemployable.

It is a motoring conviction and it will be spent in April, however as it is financial organisation, they can see spent convictions too, I would have to wait until its 11 years old for the offence to be removed completely according to the recent change in DBS (CRB).

Any further thoughts or suggestions?

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#4 RE: Help please
29/06/2014 08:45

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to jm (#3)

Well, other than the point at which you join the organisation, how often do they request CRB info from staff? Never.....?

I'm not advocating dishonesty for a second, but practically would I be right in assuming that they don't often bother to re-check the status of existing staff?

The long term solution might be to consider applying for roles and give full disclosure at that point....? Also I'd get advice about what their policy requires you to disclose. You wouldn't advise them you one got a parking ticket.. What about a speeding ticket? Or other motoring related offences? Just what exactly are you required to disclose and could you honestly argue that you didn't consider it to be within the scope of what hey were asking about (unlikely I know but worth checking perhaps?)

For peace of mind I would certainly get some legal advice, it won't cost much and might help you put the matter to rest

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#5 RE: Help please
29/06/2014 11:02

jm to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#4)

Thank you so much for your advice

My main fears are:

If they find out in some other way without me telling them then I will be in a whole heap of trouble.

If I don't tell them and hope for the best then it'll be on the back of my mind for the next 6/7 year until it drops off.

If I tell them, technically they could hold me in breach of contract and dismiss me for not telling them sooner.

Other motoring offences such as speeding are not classed as criminal and would not need to be declared. I thought my conviction was just like that until now which is why I did not disclose it.

I forgot to mention, I am in the UK where it is classed as a criminal offence, I know in the US it is classed as a misdemeanor and would not be an issue.

I have not known them to do a CRB check on any existing employee, however the handbook states that they have the right to at any time

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#6 RE: Help please
29/06/2014 11:22

CaffeineUseDisorder to jm (#5)

Well according to your solicitor you didn't have the legal requirement to tell them as you wouldn't need to drive for work, right?

So why would you want to do so now?

My understanding is that you've done the right thing and even in they find out now they'll still won't fire you, as you are legally compliant, and in any case it does not have an impact whatsoever...

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#7 RE: Help please
29/06/2014 11:38

jm to CaffeineUseDisorder (#6)

Although I did not legally need to tell them, it is part of the employee handbook and as such could be seen as breach of contract.

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#8 RE: Help please
29/06/2014 11:45

CaffeineUseDisorder to jm (#7)

is the employee handbook above the law?

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#9 RE: Help please
29/06/2014 12:30

jm to CaffeineUseDisorder (#8)

no its not, but I can get dismissed, because I broke their rules

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#10 RE: Help please
29/06/2014 12:44

CaffeineUseDisorder to jm (#9)

Well, an employer must have a good enough reason for firing an employee

(https://www.gov.uk/dismissal/unfair-and-constructive-dismissal)

and "breaking my rules, which are not necessarily in line with the law" does not sound like a good one...

The way I see it is that since you're already in there and you don't have a legal obligation to report such issues, it's over... you should of course ask advice from your solicitor.

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#11 RE: Help please
29/06/2014 13:02

CaffeineUseDisorder to CaffeineUseDisorder (#10)

What I mean above is that I don't think they would fire you.

I think they wouldn't even care about it, but even if they did, this does not constitute a reason for firing someone.

If I had a parking ticket that I forgot to pay and got convicted for that, I wouldn't accept it if the HR of my company came to me one day and told me "we're firing you because you didn't tell us you've got that conviction for that parking ticket".

And this case is not necessarily different to that example, as your duties are not to be affected by your past driving/drinking habbits combination.

If you worked on a car rental company it might be different :-)

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#12 RE: Help please
29/06/2014 17:35

Arby the Manager to CaffeineUseDisorder (#11)

You did a very silly, idiotic thing 4 years ago. I cannot stand drink drivers - I think it's a lunatic act which is as selfish as it is pathetic. However, that said, you have been judged bu a Court and you have got your fine and your ban. I don't see any reason why you should be further punished by potentially losing your job. Therefore I would stay quiet, put it out of your mind and get on with your life.

I'm all for honesty, clean conscience and all that - but a clean conscience does not pay the bills and honesty is poor company on your way down to the dole office.

In terms of HR finding out - you work for an investment bank. Apart from the inordinate proprotion of criminals ALREADY working for them, their HR function will be very similar to other organizations - i.e. not necessarily Sherlock Holmes. However their lack of investigative capabilities will be more than compensated by their bureaurocratic management of the whole situation if you DO tell them. There will be reviews of your performance, they may fire you, they may demote you - at the very least they will make you feel like your conviction was for murder, not drink driving.

So learn the handbook - keep your mouth shut - chill out and live your life... There will be a thousand reasons why your employer will get rid of you in your career - don't give them 1 more....

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#13 RE: Help please
29/06/2014 18:18

jm to Arby the Manager (#12)

Thank you all for your advice and Arby a very big thanks for your honesty.

I think I will keep quiet and hope for the best, but at the same time update my CV and look for another job, but I will be upfront and honest at the interview, that way they will know about it before accepting me and I would not have to worry about being dismissed for it. I just hope that there aren't too many employers that would hold a one off stupid mistake against me.

Just another 6 years or so and it will drop off the record completely, I hope it flies by.

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#14 RE: Help please
29/06/2014 18:53

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to jm (#13)

Just on the point about it not being relevant because you won't be doving at work, I don't think that's the main point. They would want to know because FSA guidelines and suchlike probably require them to have staff that do not have a black mark on their character or integrity. Someone could blackmail you with it or whatever for instance. Consider this: your job may not involve matters of looking after vulnerable people, but nonetheless they'd want to know if you were on a perv register I'm sure.

So overall I think it is one of those hogs that really you should technically have told them about. This is NOT advice I'm giving now, but if it were me I would be inclined to let sleeping dogs lie. Just like I did when I joined a "very" prestigious MC firm at the start of my career with a substantially lower degree result than i had been predicted lol

I'm sure mr cool with his BATNA advice and so on would say something like get your plan B in order and ready to execute at a moments notice should the need arise, but hopefully that won't be necessary. You are fortunate in that you have time and breathing space to work out what your plan B should be... And I would definitely spend a few hundred quid on getting some legal advice to help you formulate your plan B...

But please, stay calm. Worrying never helps matters

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#15 RE: Help please
01/07/2014 13:29

marsday to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#14)

I would not condone drink driving for a moment but you've taken your punishment - do not now look for further means to extend that.

Much of what is stated in an employee handbook will be largely disregarded by both employees and the owners of a business, only invoked where is serves the purpose of the business. And in a bank, HR may occupy a very bureaucratic position, but they are very much subordinate to the profitability of the revenue earning staff and in turn the food chain.

I don't know the circumstances and nor do I want to. But the fact you got a ban and a fine means you were probably over the limit but didn't pose an immediate danger to anyone. The courts will have mitigated your punishment - if the office have been serious, rather than simply statutory, you would have been looking at a custodial sentence.

You could take the high road - disclose it at interview when looking to leave. But banking is a tight knit and incestuous industry, and it WILL get back to your line manager. You really will be unemployable. Do not disclose, they will not ask. Add value to the business and they will not even look. No smoke without fire.

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#16 RE: Help please
02/07/2014 10:25

consultordietrying to marsday (#15)

Agreed with the above do not disclose now.

My housemate had a similar issue with a conviction abroad when applying to one of the Big 4. He did not disclose it - because he thought international court judgements wouldn't be found.

It was found and the he was told that they wouldn't honor his contract - they told him that they were not concerned about his actual conviction but the lack of integrity for not disclosing. Anyway he mentioned how it was a genuine misunderstanding of the law - disclosing foreign convictions and they let him off.

Anyway the point of this is that - if you disclose now it will only throw into question your integrity for the past 4 years, which in financial services I imagine is a huge problem (oh the irony) - due to money laundering/insider trading etc.

Also from my very brief knowledge of the law and experience of applying for jobs; your conviction will be spent after 5 years, even though as you said 'it might be visible by FS agencies', they cannot discriminate on it. Only if you went to prison - in which the spent term is much longer can they actively discriminate past the 5 years. On top of this I have also seen some applications ask to disclose any non-driving convictions. I am not sure how the law differentiates driving offenses and it is very possible that a drink driving offense, doesn't come under this distinction (i.e. could be minor speeding offenses etc), but you never know and you maybe lucky.

Moral of the story - don't drink and drive.

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#17 RE: Help please
02/07/2014 17:41

Zz to consultordietrying (#16)

consultordietrying,

May I ask if your housemate is from abroad and his conviction was in his home country/country of residence?

I'm in a quite similar situation. I had a conviction while on sabbatical in an EU country (not my home country). I was certainly not proud of myself. I then moved to the UK for a new job and I didn't think I had to tell my employer (one of the Big 4) about that. Maybe I should have.

However, I passed the background check. Reading your post, I think it was probably because my conviction was not in my home country/country of residence, and so there was no way they could find out anything. Otherwise, I might have a real problem.

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#18 RE: Help please
02/07/2014 22:55

consultordietrying to Zz (#17)

Zz,

He is a UK resident but was convicted on holiday in an EU country.

His was flagged on the background check they did in the UK and they told him they would not honor his contract, because of the lack of integrity shown not disclosing it - which is fair enough. All I know is it was genuine ignorance on his part and he was able to prove it, (he got a letter from his lawyer, I think to maybe say he was officially advised he didn't have to disclose it or something?) and they were fine.

My advice to you would be to leave it now - your fine don't worry about it, if you have passed the background check then it is either spent (more than 5 years old) or it is minor and they do not care/think you are of any possible detriment to their clients. If it has not shown then that is not your fault - there are different levels of disclosure (I think) and you have obviously passed theirs, so your integrity is intact (I think), you will not get re-checked unless you apply for something that needs security clearance like sensitive public sector work.

However it's up to you, it's your integrity not mine!

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#19 RE: Help please
04/07/2014 10:37

Arby the Manager to consultordietrying (#18)

Your friend is not called Gary is he?

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