Bank's 'sloppy' HR system of background checks allowed man with conviction slip into workforce

By Gordon Deegan

An Adjudication Officer at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) has criticised the workings of the Human Resources department of a major bank here that let a man with a conviction slip into the bank’s workforce.

The man was taken on by KBC bank in July 2017 in spite of background checks conducted at the time which revealed that the man had been convicted of an offence in 2015, which had the effect of him being deemed to be a subject to a disqualification order.

Adjudication Officer at the WRC, Jim Dolan said:

Unfortunately, the HR Administrator dealing with these checks was a temporary employee and did not bring the result of those checks to the attention of the relevant HR Business Partner.

Mr Dolan said the way that the bank’s HR personnel managed the ‘Individual Person Check’ “was at best sloppy and reports of this important nature should not be left to junior temporary administrators”.

Mr Dolan said: “I would recommend that the Respondent’s senior HR personnel look at this process to prevent the like of this happening again.”

Mr Dolan made his comments in a ruling that found that the contract worker was not unfairly dismissed.

Mr Dolan said that he felt “that no dismissal has taken place” and “therefore I cannot disagree with the arguments” presented by the bank’s representative.

Mr Dolan pointed to the KBCI Staff Handbook and Code of Conduct, signed by the contract worker, included the clause that the Unfair Dismissals Acts “shall not apply to a dismissal consisting only of the fixed term of this contract without it being renewed”.

The man commenced work as an agency worker in July 2017 when he secured a fixed three and a half month contract.

Before taking the post, he was required to make a Declaration in Respect of Criminal Convictions and a Confirmation of Fitness and Probity and these documents required him to make a positive affirmation that he had not been charged or convicted of a criminal offence or was not the subject of a criminal investigation.

However, on learning of the man’s prior conviction on November 8th, which would have prevented the man being hired in the first place, the bank instructed him not to come to work the following day.

The man was paid his full salary until the last day of his fixed-term contract, November 30, 2017.

The bank told the WRC: “The Complainant was not dismissed from employment nor was he subjected to any disciplinary hearing.”

The worker argued that the matter of the results of the “Independent Person Check” should have, at least been the subject of an investigation and he should have been afforded the opportunity of an appeal if required.

He argued that the full facts should have been established and investigated, the outcome of an investigation should have been made known to him, a disciplinary hearing arranged.

The man further stated that he should have been offered the opportunity of representation – none of this happened.

A spokesman for KBC said on Friday it cannot comment on individual cases.

However, he said:

The bank has policies and procedures in place to ensure that full compliance checks are completed. This case was an isolated occurrence.

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