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Will it I struggle to find work in the scientific field if I am registered sex offender?


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I'm about to become an RSO here in the UK.

I dropped out midway through university and want to go back to study Biochemistry/Biomedicine. The plan is to work my ass off, get my degree, and then get my master's after that.

Will I struggle to find work if I am an RSO? Do you find that scientific jobs do background checks? I really want to pursue a career in science and I hate myself for possibly messing it up.

My conviction means my charge is never spent.


Edited by throwawayz
Editing out some irrelevant info
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We cannot dispense legal or career advice here, just to be clear on that. I did spend some time working in HR in the past, though, so here are my two cents, which is to be taken as personal opinion only.
In principle it would not be legal to discriminate against job applicants on the basis of past criminal convictions (in fact, in most cases it isn’t even legal for employers to ask about this), unless the conviction is directly relevant to the nature of the proposed employment. So for example, if you were to apply for something that is solely based in a lab, or at a computer terminal etc, then it is unlikely to become an issue. However, there are some jobs that legally require an employer to perform police vetting on you prior to making a job offer - most teaching jobs are like that, and definitely anything that involves contact with vulnerable or underage people, among some other scenarios. I would also imagine that direct contact with medical patients in healthcare facilities etc will fall under this, as those are included in the definition of ‘vulnerable’. It goes without saying that such avenues of employment are no longer open to you, and you may even be legally required to disclose your RSO status in certain circumstances, even if no vetting is done on you (it’s your responsibility to check with local authorities on this one).

So yes, you can still make a living in science - but there are certain careers that won’t be accessible to you.

Edited by Markus Hanke
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8 hours ago, throwawayz said:

Do you find that scientific jobs do background checks?

It depends on

(a) if role is "regulated activity"

(b) if you are on the child and/or adult "barred list"

(c) which of the three levels of check the employer requires


JFGI the UK's Disclosure and Barring Service


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  • 3 weeks later...

I am not a legally trained or career guidance person either. There is the rehabilitation of offenders act that covers this in the UK.   However are you not assigned a mentor or given access to advisers who can give proper guidance on this.  ?

Everyone makes errors, it is how we accept those mistakes and move on,   I don't think you need to put on your CV you are an RSO,  you may have to account for  gaps in employment or training (but this may be more for school posts, which would not be relevant here).   Your university should be able to offer careers advice too and will probably have study mentors.   Even as an Open University student there is still access to study and careers help.

Maybe hang around here, ask questions , answer questions and build a good rapport with the community, even that can count towards something

Hope this helps



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  • 1 month later...
On 9/11/2020 at 9:35 PM, drumbo said:

It depends on what you did I guess. Taking a leak on the side of a wall behind a pub isn't a big deal to most people, but diddling kids is considered abhorrent by most.

Speaking as a lab head, it doesn't matter what I think of your offense. For e.g. My lab has stocks of chemicals on the DEA restricted list. If someone has a felony drug conviction, I can't hire them. It wouldn't matter if they were the best molecular biologist in the country and their offense was smoking a joint at a Grateful Dead show in 1968, I legally can't hire them. If your conviction restricts you in a manner that prevents you doing the job (i.e. working with clinical patients) then no one can hire you to do it.  

Sex offenders are allowed to work on campus where I am, but have to register with campus police and face certain restrictions. My work personally doesn't face any of these restrictions and it would be illegal for me to not employ someone because of their conviction history. 

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