Job applicants do not have to disclose minor offences, Supreme Court rules

The Supreme Court has ruled that forcing job applicants to disclose minor crimes as part of background checks is a breach of their human rights.

The ruling is related to the case of a man, identified only as "T" in court, who was denied employment at a football club and later a place at university due to a caution for stealing a bicycle when he was 11. 

He took his case to the Court of Appeal, which ruled in his favour. This latest ruling upholds that court's decision. It will now apply to all UK job applicants.

In their statements, the judges said forcing candidates to disclose minor offences such as police warnings "were not based on any rational assessment of risk".

The ruling will be seen as a victory for the Ban the Box campaign, spearheaded by Vicky Pryce, which campaigns for those with criminal convictions to be given more opportunities in the workplace. 

Fitness First HR director Neil Tune told HR magazine employers should be trusted to "use their judgement" when considering minor offences. 

"If someone stole a bike when they were 11 is it realistically going to affect their ability to perform the job effectively?" he asked. "Also for other judgements, such as CCJs, it may be the case someone got in trouble due to difficult circumstances at one stage in their life. It doesn't make sense to rule people out hands-down for these things."