6 Mar 2009

WINZ employee forced to leave over convictions in 1988

3:29 pm on 6 March 2009

An Auckland man is applying for a benefit from his former employer, WINZ, which had forced him to leave because of convictions he received 21 years ago.

When Aaron Amor applied for a job as a Work and Income call centre worker, he thought he was covered by clean slate legislation.

Mr Amor had served two months of corrective training in 1988 after being convicted of eight charges including burglary, motor vehicle theft and minor drugs use.

However, since that is a custodial sentence, he is not covered by the clean slate legislation, which allows people with less serious convictions, who were not given custodial sentences, to conceal their convictions after seven years.

Mr Amor got a job in a Work and Income call centre last December, but says he was forced to resign two months later, or he would have faced dismissal which would affect future employment.

Deputy chief executive Patricia Reade told Nine to Noon that the Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004 does not apply to the department.

However she later issued a statement saying this was incorrect. In the statement, Ms Reade said she regrettably got her facts wrong, that the law does apply to the department and she apologised for any confusion.

She said Mr Amor was not covered by the legislation because he had served corrective training.

Ms Reade told Nine to Noon that WINZ cannot afford to lower its standards when the deparment handles $17 billion of taxpayer money.

Ms Reade could not confirm if another employee with past convictions has also left.