by Mary

I would like to share my story with all those individuals who have a criminal conviction and cannot see a positive way forward.

I worked for a luxury brand on the high street and, following three interviews, I management to obtain a position still within my company but at an airport. I was so excited and looking forward to my new role. In 2012 I attended court for an over payment in respect of incapacity benefit which dated back to 2010. To my absolute shock I was convicted and given one hundred hours community service to be completed within 12 months of my conviction. I paid back the money immediately and completed my community service within 5 weeks while still working full time.

I informed my manager of my conviction and they liaised with their HR department. They contacted me to tell me that the job offer was withdrawn, and they also told me that the decision was final and I could not appeal. I put down the phone and my whole world was shattered, I thought this cannot be right and did not know which way to turn. To make things worse and add to my humiliation, company emails were flying around informing senior management that I would not be joining the team at the airport.

Even though I was told that I could not appeal the decision, the whole situation was not sitting well with me at all. I sat up all night and surfed the internet looking for answers, and a way I could turn a “NO you have not got the job”, to “Yes you have”. I ascertained that I needed to apply for a certificate of disregard from The Department for Transport. Within three days I put my case together and submitted it to DFT. I phoned them twice a week to make sure they had all the information that they required and regularly requested an update on my case. It took persistence, drive, focus and faith but, after 4 weeks, I received my Certificate of Disregard in the post!

I was over the moon and I felt like I had won an award! I immediately scanned the document and sent to my employer. It went very quiet for a few days and I waited patiently in anticipation. I received a phone call from my employer informing me that the job offer was reinstated and asking if  I still wanted it!

My employer typed a supporting letter which I enclosed with the Certificate of Disregard and I applied for my airside pass, which I am proud to say was granted! I am still at the airport and have passed the highest level of security clearance.  I wanted to share my story to inspire other people to fight for their rights and win through. Do not let anyone stand in the way of you and success. I could have simply accepted my employer’s decision and walked away. Instead, I decided to stand up and be counted.

I recently discovered that, due to amendments to the law in March 2014, my conviction is now spent. I would like to thank Debbie from Unlock for this valuable information as under the previous law it would have been five years. I am currently looking for an exciting new job opportunity.

So, thanks to Debbie and Unlock, I feel I can engage my higher self and acquire my desired new job without the threat of rejection and being treated differently to other people.

And remember, do not always take the word of other people, check out the facts for yourself and remember that nothing is impossible.

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