Q: Do businesses need to tell staff that a colleague is on the sex offenders register?
A. A balance would need to be struck here in this tricky situation – the rights of all your employees need to be considered– both of the offender and of those required to work closely with them.
There is no law which says that you must tell your workers about the offence of a colleague. You will need to consider the nature of your business and, indeed, the type of offence.
You may conclude that the person on the register is of little or no risk to the colleagues. Then you would have little justification for disclosing what will amount to sensitive personal data about them. You are also likely to be in breach of the employer’s implied duty of trust and confidence to the offender and telling other colleagues about the offence may lead to bullying. As an employer, you have a duty to provide a safe working environment for all staff – this would include the offender.
If, however, you review the situation and consider there is a risk to your other employees, it is unlikely that simply telling them about the offence will be enough to protect them. If there is a real risk to other workers, you are unlikely to be able to put in place measures in the work place and monitor the offender or keep staff separate. If this is the case, you may need to look at considering a dismissal of the offender following a fair process and for ‘some other substantial reason’. You would also need to take into consideration any risk which may be posed to your customers or clients or other contractors and workers on site as you would be vicariously liable for the actions of any of your employees.
For further advice, please contact Julia Fitzsimmons on 01743 266268 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, find out more about our Employment & HR Services
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