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Suncorp stands by its decision to reject job applicant

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Suncorp has been criticised by the Australian Human Rights Commission for withdrawing an  offer of employment for a man with a child pornography conviction.

The commission says the insurer discriminated against the applicant, and should pay him $2500 for hurt, humiliation and distress.

But a Suncorp spokesman told the ruling was not binding and the company will not pay compensation.

Papers on the commission’s website outlining the case do not identify the complainant, referring to him as Mr BE.

He claims he was discriminated against on the basis of his criminal record, after he applied for a job in November 2015 to work part-time from home as an insurance claims assist consultant.

In March 2008 he was convicted of accessing and possessing child pornography and was given a suspended one-year prison sentence. He was also fined $5000 and required to give another $5000 to charity.

In 2015, he was convicted of failing to comply with his reporting obligations and was fined a further $1000.

When Mr BE applied for the Suncorp job online, he did not fully disclose the extent of his criminal record, but did so in advance of an interview for the job and prior to receiving a conditional offer of employment.

Suncorp withdrew its conditional job offer after receiving a copy of Mr BE’s criminal history, saying there was also an alternative internal candidate available.

The company told the commission his record meant he could not meet the requirements of trustworthiness and good character necessary for the position. Suncorp also had concerns about Mr BE working unsupervised on the internet, and the impact the appointment could have on its partnership with a community organisation promoting the wellbeing of young people.

The commission says withdrawing an offer of employment on the basis of a person’s criminal record amounts to discrimination unless the refusal is based on the inherent requirements of the job.

A Suncorp spokesman told that while it notes the commission’s finding, “we maintain that Mr BE’s criminal record is of a serious nature and would impact on his ability to perform the requirements of the role”.