Townsville Community Legal Service Inc
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Personal life and community work

Sometimes we experience personal issues that might affect our employment as a community worker or our ability to perform certain roles as a community worker. These issues are generally serious life and/or legal issues and should be dealt with promptly by obtaining professional, expert advice.

Discrimination on basis of criminal record
Personal bankruptcy
Working with children check & blue card

Discrimination on basis of criminal recordBack to top

This issue arises in two central ways.

Firstly, where past criminal history becomes relevant, such as

where an employer requests that community workers obtain a criminal history pre employment,
where an employer requests that community workers obtain a criminal history during employment
where an employer requests that community workers obtain a criminal history in respect of certain roles and responsibilities within an organisation, such as supervision of children.

Secondly, it becomes relevant where a community worker becomes involved in criminal matters whilst employed or volunteering such as

being questioned by the police
being charged with a criminal or other offence
being dealt with by a court
being convicted by a court

In recent years the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received a significant number of complaints from people alleging discrimination in employment on the basis of criminal record. The complaints indicate that there is a great deal of misunderstanding by employers and people with criminal records about discrimination on the basis of criminal record.

‘On the Record: Guidelines for the prevention of discrimination in employment on the basis of criminal record’ is the result of an extensive research and consultation process undertaken by the Human Rights Commissioner in 2004 and 2005.

‘On the Record’ provides information and practical guidance on how to prevent criminal record discrimination in the workplace. It covers existing anti-discrimination and related laws, as well as best practice principles when recruiting or employing someone who may have a criminal record. (from AHRC)

Personal bankruptcyBack to top

Bankruptcy generally does not prevent you from working. However, if you are engaged in particular trades or professions there may be certain restrictions imposed by professional associations or licensing authorities. You should contact your professional association or licensing authority to confirm whether there is any effect on your membership or ability to practice a particular trade. A list of some trades/professions where restrictions may apply is available from ITSA. It is important to note that this is not a comprehensive listing and you are strongly encouraged to contact the relevant licensing authority or professional body to obtain further information.

Your employer is not normally notified of your bankruptcy unless you owe him/her money or unless you have failed to pay compulsory contributions. It is still your responsibility to lodge taxation returns for any income earned during the period of your bankruptcy. (From ITSA)

Working with children check & blue cardBack to top

Blue cards are issued by the Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian once it has carried out the Working with Children Check to see if a person is eligible. If a person is eligible, they are issued a positive notice and a blue card.