Criminal Records and Employment

Generally, employer in New South Wales are not allowed to discriminate on the basis of a criminal record. However, an employer can refuse to employ you if your criminal record means you are unable to perform the “inherent requirements” of a particular job.

It can be difficult to determine what the “inherent requirements” of a particular job are, and whether your particular criminal record will disqualify you. This may hinge on whether you are considered to pose an unacceptably high risk if you are employed in a particular position.

NSW has decided that there are certain types of employment where people with a certain criminal record may not be employed. Examples include working with children or working as a judge, magistrate, justice of the peace, police officer, or member of staff of Corrective Services.

There are also some professional and occupational licensing bodies that have developed licensing and registration rules because of special characteristics in their field, e.g. the health profession or legal profession. Such rules address the relevance of a person’s criminal record to that particular profession.

In other fields of employment there is little guidance for employers as to what the inherent requirements of a certain job might be, and how to assess whether a person meets those requirements. In general, these would need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

If you require any information about a criminal record’s effect on employment or any other legal matter phone us on 1300 038 223 or send us an email.


If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.


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