It is illegal to hire someone with a criminal record.

On the contrary, the Ministry of Justice says that “even where employers are entitled to ask for a criminal record check, knowledge of a conviction, spent or unspent, should not act as an automatic barrier to employment.”

I can’t hire an ex-offender because my company is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

On the contrary, the FCA says that “many roles within the regulated sector do not require FCA approval, so the suggestion that firms are unable to employ ex-offenders is not accurate. Controlled function roles are the only instance in which we may impede that employment and the FCA will treat each application for approval to perform a controlled function on a case-by-case basis.”

I can’t justify hiring an ex-offender when people without convictions are struggling to find jobs.

Hiring ex-offenders is not about preferential treatment or positive discrimination. Again, it’s about hiring the best possible person for any given role within your organisation. Whether or not that person has a criminal conviction will be completely irrelevant in the vast majority of cases.

Ex-offenders are unreliable.

On the contrary, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development reports that ex-offenders are more reliable than average and stay in their jobs as long as anyone else, if not longer. Because it’s so hard for them to find work, ex-offenders have more to lose from failing in a job than anyone else.

I would have to protect my current employees by installing lockers in the staff room.

Most prejudice is based on short-sighted stereotypes. Someone convicted of drug trafficking is no more likely to commit petty theft than anyone else within your organisation. Employment is in any case proven to be the number one factor in reducing reoffending. Our candidates' reoffending rate at work is less than 1%.


I can't hire a woman ex-offender because my staff wouldn't like it.

On the contrary, Marks & Spencer report that hiring ex-offenders has increased morale and motivation among staff, who say they are proud to work for an organisation offering ex-offenders a second chance to get back on track.

I can’t hire a woman ex-offender because the media might find out.

Employers who hire ex-offenders are not only perfectly within their rights to do so – they are also actively challenging prejudice and transforming employment practice, while demonstrating their strong commitment to workplace diversity and social mobility. Hiring ex-offenders is a great opportunity for any organisation to generate positive press.

I can’t hire a woman ex-offender because my clients wouldn’t like it.

Your clients depend on you to deliver a high-quality service, and your job is to employ people who can do that. If an ex-offender is the most qualified person for a particular job, you are doing your clients a disservice by not hiring that person.