ANZ 'respectfully declines' Human Rights Commissioner's request

by Chloe Taylor29 Jun 2015
ANZ has ignored the recommendations of the Human Rights Commission and refused to apologise after rescinding a job offer following the discovery of the candidate’s criminal record.

The candidate – known only as Mr AN – alleged that the banking giant had discriminated against him in its decision not to hire him on the basis of an armed robbery conviction from 1978.

In the report, handed down by the Human Rights Commissioner, ANZ admitted that AN’s criminal history was the reason behind the withdrawal of the offer. The bank also said that his failure to disclose his conviction to the company contributed to the decision.

“I consider that ANZ's decision not to engage Mr AN constitutes discrimination,” the Commissioner said in the report.

Fortunately for the bank, AN did not seek compensation, and the remedy suggested by the Commissioner was a written apology from ANZ as well as an internal review of the bank’s policies and procedures.

A spokeswoman for ANZ told HC that the nature of the offence was behind the bank’s decision not to provide the written apology.

“While ANZ has made some changes to policies and training as a result of the President’s findings and recommendations, we have respectfully declined to provide an apology to Mr AN,” she explained. “Due to the violent and serious nature of the offence, ANZ maintains Mr AN could not fulfil the inherent requirements of the role, which included that he act in accordance with ANZ’s Code of Conduct and display honesty and integrity.

“It should be noted Mr AN did not disclose his criminal record when asked to do so during the recruitment process, and since making his complaint has provided conflicting information about the reason for this non-disclosure.

“We also don’t think it’s appropriate that a person convicted of a violent armed robbery work in a bank.”

According to the report, AN interviewed for the role of IT project manager in June 2013, and was later selected for the position.

Documents revealed that AN then signed a form, in which he agreed that he “had not been convicted of a criminal offence anywhere in the world and acknowledged that ANZ may obtain a police clearance check to validate this”.

Several days later, AN was questioned by a recruitment consultant about his undisclosed conviction.

While the Commissioner acknowledged that AN was in the wrong for failing to provide this information, she stated that he had given an explanation for his decision not to do so.

“There is no doubt that the offence which Mr AN was convicted of was a serious offence,” the Commissioner said. “However, the offence occurred in 1978, more than 35 years ago. This offence was Mr AN's only offence and he has had no subsequent convictions.

“Mr AN was 21 years old at the time of the offence. He has provided some context around the offence stating that he had ‘fallen in with the wrong crowd’.

She acknowledged AN’s voluntary services and long-term employment history which included several senior management roles.

“It is difficult to see what more Mr AN could have done to rehabilitate himself,” the Commissioner continued. “With these factors in mind, I am not persuaded that there is a sufficiently tight or close correlation between the inherent requirement of the Position and the exclusion of Mr AN. I am not persuaded that Mr AN was unable to perform the inherent requirements of the Position.”
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  • by Jenny 29/06/2015 11:36:20 AM

    How much tax payer money was wasted on that? Surely it's a no-brainer that a former armed robber get a job in a bank.

  • by HR Dude 29/06/2015 1:02:32 PM

    This is interesting.

    If we accept that the law is designed to reform / punish someone for doing wrong, then inherent in that is the right not to be further punished without reason. The issue then is that someone can be denied work based on this previous conduct, despite having 'served the time' as it were. I tend to agree that it shouldn't be an automatic ruling against the person.

    If someone held up a service station 15 years ago when he/she was 18, got a suspended sentence and a community order, then went to university and held a good job and raised a family... then how can we say straight away that the employer should deny employment? This is different to someone who say, had several fraud charges over the last 10 years.

    Now, I still think termination of the contract is warranted in this circumstance because he lied to the bank. If he had disclosed the conviction, then it would have been on the bank to make the judgement in a proper and due process. This was not the case, and he (even before starting) broke the trust with the employer.

  • by Digger 29/06/2015 2:02:21 PM

    We should just not employ anyone with a criminal record. Or anyone who drinks and drives. Or anyone who demonstrated against the war in Iraq. It's a no brainer. These people are not who we want in banks.

    Really? The no brainer is that we have a selection process that allows someone to be interviewed because of their skills and talents. That they wouldn't get that opportunity if they disclosed a 1978 conviction is a major hr problem. That the stupid hr couldn't work through that issue. That is the no brainer. Has he continued on his nefarious ways? No, then move along.

    I personally don't think he should get the job because he lied. That's the reason for not getting the job. He should have disclosed, then sued their sorry arse when they chose to exclude him on non work related grounds.

    I don't think it needs an apology. The bank needs to review its hr policy on recruitment and see how they can join the 21 st century. People make mistakes. They deserve second chances . He may even be an asset, you know, someone who wants to work there and has skills they need???.....

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