Didn't disclose conviction- will this end in dismissal?(25 Posts)
A friend, works as health care assistant in NHS.
Got arrested & didn't tell boss. Tried to deal with it all himself. Says he didn't do it (assault), but pleaded guilty as was told this would speed things up in terms of processing.
Got a conditional discharge.
Didn't tell his boss any of this.
Now suspended pending investigation. He's Worried he'll lose his job and never work in NHS again. That's true isn't it? Is there any hope of leniancy? I guess all the NHS know is that a court found him guilty & passed sentence (even tho the sentence was the bear min they could give)
I'm gutted for him that he was given the advice to plead guilty without knowing implications if he maintains he is innocent.
Sorry for epic post - just wanted a reality check as to how it's going to affect him.
15yrs NHS service and never a problem. He is truly wonderful with the patients. Just a stupid incident.
So sad for him. Will he never work in NHS again with a record?
(Ps - they are also investigating him for not disclosing to his boss - but again, he says he didn't know this was in his contract (issued 15 yr ago)
Nobody who is innocent pleads guilty.
Not what you asked, I know.
He was found guilty of assault while working with vulnerable people and didn't think to mention it to his boss?
I don't know NHS policy, but I think it would be a dismissal from me. If he had extenuating circumstances and told his employer at the time, you might give the benefit of the doubt, but I think it would be an unforgivable breach of trust in the circs you describe
It's likely to be gross misconduct that he didn't disclose this. It would be where I work, and I don't work with vulnerable people.
He pleaded guilty, so it won't matter if he now says that he's innocent. He legally admitted to it.
I think dismissal is inevitable, sorry. Not for the offence, but for the failure to disclose.
so failure to disclose is the biggie?
But, yes, I totally understand the working with vulnerable people thing and breach of trust.
I just didn't realise either that you had to tell employer.
OP, there's no reason why you would know. It's fairly common in lots of companies though, and I would have thought that after working in the NHS for 15 years it would be well known that you have to disclose assault convictions when you're working with patients. It's self evident really.
Non disclosure is the issue.
And nobody who is innocent would plead guilty.
The non-disclosure is the biggie because the employer can say that it fundamentally undermines trust to the extent that the relationship has broken down.
They may take into consideration his long service with a good record, but it's a pretty big deal. If he was a nurse he would likely be referred to the NMC for a misconduct hearing, which would tend to lead to either a restriction of practice, suspension or striking off (less likely unless he showed no insight).
I occasionally deal with this kind of thing for my NHS employer.
I am sorry to say that an offence of violence would be a big red flag in itself but in combination with a failure to disclose will almost certainly end in dismissal.
I have seen a fair few people sacked for failure to disclose, no matter what the nature of the offence and some where, had they disclosed, it would not have been a problem.
Actually aye, they do (not me! I have never been arrested!) but I have heard many a tale of people being arrested for something minor and being encouraged to accept a caution which they do to get out, not realising the impact this may have on them in the future.
Nobody who is innocent pleads guilty
Rubbish. It happens all the time, just as innocent people confess to crimes they did not commit.
People plead guilty for all kinds of reasons. Indeed, the court system provides incentives to plead guilty if you think that, despite your innocence, you may be convicted.
Plenty of people who are innocent plead guilty. The system doesn't really care who is or isn't it's about getting things dealt with as efficiently as possible. Lots of reasons why it happens.
But yes failure to disclose is most likely gross misconduct and dismissal. Sorry. Bad things happen to good people.
Being found guilty of a crime in itself is not automatic reason for dismissal, but a physical or sexual conviction would likely result in dismissal. Given the fact that it is also not disclosed, it is almost certainly dismissal so I would suggest he starts planning for an alternate future.
Don't let him worry too much. A change in career will not be as scary as he is imagining.
Your friend pleaded guilty, so he can't claim to his employer that he is innocent and expect to be believed. That plus the non-disclosure means dismissal is the most likely outcome, sorry.
Thank you all. It really helps put things in perspective hearing from people looking at this from a neutral position.
I guess he'd just got his hopes up as he's been suspended during investigation etc since April. If it's as straightforward as everyone here says - then why drag it all out so long waiting to hold a hearing to dismiss.
Anyway - yes - time for pastures new by the sounds of it.
The NHS being the public sector, there are formal hoops to jump through. The process is very formal and water-tight, since the NHS will not want any possible loopholes for unfair dismissal. So certain things have to happen and the timetable may well be slow.
The length of time the "investigation" is taking will have no realistic bearing on the outcome.
It's just that the NHS is a massive, massive employer so departments like legal and HR may take ages to process requests for information.
FATEdestiny, this is wrong, the NHS is made up of 267 provider trusts and 211 CCGs although as an HCA OP's friend is likely employed by one of the former.
Each of these is an independent body with legal personality and a separate employer.
So, they can be fairly agile when needs must.
Whilst everybody does, it is wrong to think of the NHS as a single, lumber behemoth.
Yes, but they have a single, unified terms and conditions policy (Agenda for Change) which they must adhere to.
Thanks again for all responses. In terms of non-disclosure - We've look at his contract & it doesn't actually say that he has to let his employer know of any criminal offences etc. Is this any 'defence'? He really just tried to sort it all out himself and didn't think it through properly. They say the disciplinary policy explains he should have informed his boss - but he honestly wouldn't have ever known this. Again - in hindsight he knows he was stupid. Can stress of the situation be a mitigation?
Can the fact it isn't explicit in his contract help to 'excuse' the fact he didn't tell his boss?
Or is it enough that in this position (healthcare) this is an implied term of employment? Thanks again.
Presumably he had a crb/DBS when his employment started so I doubt ignorance that subsequent offences should be notified would be a defence. Tbh his failure to disclose suggests a lack of integrity, whether well founded or not.
Public Sector Employment Lawyer here. Stevem is right. They can act quickly and agenda for change has no part to play in it. Also i don't agree about them worrying about Unfair Dismissal. Not many people put UD claims in these days; there has been an 80% drop. An ex employee has to pay £250 just to lodge the claim and a further £950 to get it to a hearing. Puts a lot of people off as does the fact the maximum that the employee can win is one year's gross salary. Also with those facts the chances of a tribunal finding that a breach of some procedure would have made a difference and/or not finding that the employee contributed to the dismissal are very slim. Unfair Dismissal is no threat at all.
I am sorry Op but i strongly think they will dismiss. He can of course say he did not know he had to disclose and it was not in his contract. I would explain that and also say really sorry. He can also say he only plead guilty for speed. My view not sure that is worth doing. It comes up from time to time. My answer always is that even if you did not realise consequences (ie knock on effect) and even it is a caution they have still plead guilty so i advise to treat as guilty. The difficulty and what he needs to think about is this. Putting aside the disclosure issue as the employer I would be thinking about whether he is a risk or not. If he is says he did not do it but has plead guilty then I would be advising the employer he still is a risk. Without his saying something like, he was wrong, stressed and then got into an argument and won't make the mistake again (and maybe offer to take angry management classes) how does the employer know he won't do it again? Sorry it isn't easy
So if he explains the background and lead up to the offence then this might help convince them it was a one-off and they could assess that he isn't a risk to patients??
Realise I am clutching at straws now! He would however do whatever his employer might suggest (anger mgt etc) to help convince them there was no risk.
Perfectly understandably to clutch at straws. If he explains background and lead up, it might just might convince them and help them to make an assessment that he isn't a risk. It is only a slim chance and of course only he can decide what to do but I know it i were advising the manager and the person said they plead guilty but were not i would be strongly advising manager that they are a risk and no contrition and should dismiss. If however explain background, really stupid mistake, really sorry, will attend counselling (even offer to take leave to do it and if he can afford it will pay for it rather than NHS) long service and won't make same mistake again then maybe just maybe they might give final written warning. I have to warn it is a very very long shot but to me the other way will alm
ost certainly guarantee dismissal.
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