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Can a Criminal Record in Qld Affect Future Job Prospects?

"In Qld, there are instances where a criminal record may affect your job prospects."

Australians that have been convicted of a criminal offence may often face certain barriers once a criminal record is placed against their name; employment is usually at the top of that list. In Qld, there are instances where a criminal record may affect your job prospects. However, there are also times where disclosing a criminal history is not obligatory. Here’s what you need to know about having a criminal record in Qld and how it can affect your chances of securing a job.

When Won’t You Have a Criminal Record?

There are some instances where the Magistrate may decide not to record your criminal conviction, regardless of whether or not you plead guilty, or were you’re found guilty. This means that you will not have a criminal record against your name in Qld.

Section 12 of the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 (Qld) provides the Court the discretion to not record a conviction based on:

  • The nature of the offence (common for minor offences);
  • The character and age of the offender;
  • The impact the offence will have on the economic, social wellbeing and employment prospects of the offender.

When filling out application forms for jobs, make sure to read any questions relating to criminal convictions carefully. If a form asks you whether or not you have a criminal record, and you know the Magistrate decided not to record your conviction, you can answer “no” to that question. However, if it asks you whether or not you have previously been charged or found guilty, you must answer truthfully.

Does a Criminal Record in Qld Last Forever?

In Queensland, criminal convictions can lapse after a certain period of time, resulting in it being removed from a person’s criminal record. This is what’s known as a ‘spent conviction’.

To say you have no criminal convictions, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You were either not sentenced to imprisonment, or you were not sentenced to imprisonment for more than 30 months (regardless of whether or not you had to actually go to prison);
  • It has been 10 years since you were convicted as an adult in the District or Supreme Court (5 years for the Magistrates Court);
  • You have not re-offended during that 10 year period (or 5 years for Magistrates Court);

If convicted as a child, then the rules above regarding Magistrates Court convictions apply:

  • It has been 5 years since you were convicted;
  • The imprisonment term was less than 30 months (or your sentence did not involve prison);
  • You have not re-offended during the 5 year period.

By meeting this criteria, you will be required to disclose your criminal record for job applications in Qld.

Discrimination in Employment

Unfortunately, there are instances where discrimination does occur against those convicted and seeking employment. The Australian Human Rights Commission outlines that discrimination in employment based on a criminal record exists in Qld if a person is:

  • Refused a job
  • Dismissed from employment
  • Denied training opportunities
  • Denied a promotion
  • Subjected to less favourable working conditions or terms of employment
  • Harassed in the workplace

If you experience workplace discrimination due to your criminal record in Qld, you may complain to the Australian Human Rights Commission. Laws that may protect you include Fair Work Act 2009 and Anti-Discrimination Act 1991. Speak to a lawyer at Guest Lawyers regarding your legal rights and potential representation.

When is a Criminal Record in Qld Relevant for Employment Opportunities?

A criminal record in Qld might relevant to future job prospects if a person with a particular criminal record poses a high risk if employed in a particular position.

An example would be when a person is looking to work with children. On most occasions, working or even volunteering with children will require you to hold a Blue Card. To get a Blue Card, Blue Card Services will carry out a screening called a ‘working with children check’, and investigate any child related offences, police investigations, or disciplinary material held about you.

It is also unlikely that you will be able to work as a truck driver or for a delivery service if you have a criminal record related to drunk driving or other driving offences.

According to the Queensland Government, employers are legally required to check criminal records in the following instances:

  • When working with children
  • Those in specific government positions (i.e. police officer)
  • When working in the gaming and racing industry
  • Public passenger drivers (i.e. bus driver)
  • Those working in a legal profession
  • Those working in prisons

Speak to a Lawyer About Your Criminal Conviction in Qld

If you are concerned about a previous criminal conviction will affect your chances of employment in Qld, or if your employer has terminated your contract due to your conviction, it is best to seek legal advice. Our team can provide you with advice around criminal convictions and the need to disclose criminal history, as well as represent you should you experience discrimination.