Employee convictions hidden by Clean Slate Act

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When you ask a job candidate if they have any previous criminal convictions, they may not be telling the whole truth if they say no.

The Clean Slate Act allows employees to hide convictions for certain crimes if they have had a clean record for seven years and according to The New Zealand Herald, more than 115,000 Kiwis have taken advantage of the legislation.

One Aucklander has hidden 232 convictions from prospective employers which is the highest in the country, the Herald reported.

The convictions that were hidden nationwide included drink-driving causing death, burglary, indecent assault, bestiality and tax fraud.

So how does the Clean Slate Act work?

The team at Employers Assistance told HRM that a person is eligible to use the legislation if they have:
  • Had no convictions within the last 7 years
  • Never been sentenced to a custodial sentence (eg imprisonment, corrective training, borstal)
  • Never been ordered by a court during a criminal case to be detained in a hospital due to their mental condition, instead of being sentenced
  • Not been convicted of a "specified offence", which includes sexual offending against children and young people or the mentally impaired
  • Paid in full any fine, reparation or costs ordered by the court in a criminal case
  • Never been indefinitely disqualified from driving under section 65 Land Transport Act 1998 or earlier equivalent provision
The team said that the Act allowed people who met the criteria to deny having convictions when asked by a potential employer and that the convictions that are covered by the legislation will not show up on the person’s criminal record.

“However, the Act applies to certain types of convictions only and individuals cannot rely on the Act to conceal other, more serious convictions. It is advisable that employers obtain authorisation to request a copy of the candidate’s criminal record, as it would show convictions to which the Act does not apply.”

By law, an employer can’t ask a candidate to disregard the clean slate scheme when being asked about their criminal record or when disclosing or giving permission to disclose their record.

But there are certain types of employment where the legislation doesn’t apply, including working for the police, a prison, as a probation officer, in a national security position, working as a judge or justice of the peace or in a role involving the care and protection of children.

A person’s convictions are also visible to law enforcement agencies and overseas immigration authorities.

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