Schoolyard bullies to face job ban

by 28 May 2012

Twelve major employers in New South Wales are trialling a new scheme which aims to attack the bullying endemic plaguing high schools – bullies are warned that their schoolyard behaviour will follow them right into the workforce.

ClubsNSW launched the radical BullyCheck scheme last week, and employers that sign on will reject job applications from people aged 17-22 who engaged in bullying, cyber stalking, harassment or threatening behaviour at school. Participating employers will ask job applicants to consent to a reference check from their current or former high school and will not be hired if they fail the character test.

While the initiative has been welcomed by anti-bullying campaigners, some commentators have raised concerns over a minefield of potential issues. For example, some have pointed to the possibility of excluding applicants who have been wrongly accused of bullying. Others have questioned whether it would be fair to reject a person of 22 who has matured and is remorseful of their behaviour at school.

Yet Gaming and Racing Minister George Souris stood by BullyCheck, hailing it as a fantastic initiative. “Bullying both at school and in the workplace has a costly and devastating effect on victims and the community at large and I congratulate ClubsNSW on helping to fight this scourge,” he said.

ClubsNSW said the program would be adopted by clubs across the state by next year. “The message is simple – if you bully then you are risking your own career prospects,” chief executive Anthony Ball said. Forums will be held in schools to advise kids that aggressive behaviour would not be looked on kindly, and a record of bullying could severely harm their future career prospects. “If students have engaged in serious bullying, cyber stalking or threatening behaviour clubs will not hesitate to reject their job application,” Ball commented. If a student voluntarily raises their bullying history and demonstrates remorse and a high level of community service then their application for a job may be considered on its merits, ClubsNSW said.

To protect privacy, no personal documents will be released and jobseekers will not be told why their application was refused. Schools in the program must agree to provide information confidentially to employers about a job applicant’s history.

The rollout of the scheme follows a number of high-profile bullying incidents where teenage victims have been driven to suicide, and schools have largely copped the brunt of blame.


  • by Bree Vreedenburgh 28/05/2012 1:56:42 PM

    No, no, no. This is an awful idea. You marginalise these kids for their behaviour, without giving them (a) opportunity to demonstrate they have changed and (b) assistance to overcome their bullying...??? What if the kid is a bully because his dad is an idiot? Shouldn't that kid be educated and nurtured instead of marginalised?? Do you really think bullies are going to stop bullying if you refuse them the advantage of stepping into a workplace where they are required to behave like an adult?
    Also, why would jobseekers not be told why their application was refused?? Doesn't it defeat the purpose of the exercise - being to make bullies understand that their actions have consequences - if you don't tell them that their bullying led to them being excluded from consideration for a particular job???
    I am thoroughly confused by this scheme.

  • by Shiv 28/05/2012 2:12:37 PM

    Poorly thought out concept. Whoever came up with this idea might decide to extend some logic for parking tickets tomorrow.

  • by Dean Turner 28/05/2012 2:21:37 PM

    A truly terrifying move!

    Natural justice takes a back seat, conspiracy and deception now stand tall front and centre. Having children at school I am aware of this issue, it is now being highlighted ad nauseum to everyone. The issue is this, do school properly investigate an allegation, I know for a fact that 2 or more years ago these issues were being swept under the rug. How does the accused defend themselves? Where are the processes? Under 18 and you criminal record is sealed, yet for this we will happily tell any employer who comes along.

    It may be 2011, but it feels much more like "1984"!

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