BIG MISTAKE: Paul Hovey claims his employment contract was torn up following a discrepancy with his police check.
BIG MISTAKE: Paul Hovey claims his employment contract was torn up following a discrepancy with his police check. Matt Collins

Man loses job over police check confusion

PAUL Hovey moved to the South Burnett from Brisbane and he thought he had life all sorted out.

With a loving partner, a new property and a new job, Mr Hovey was loving life.

But the joy he experienced by the fresh air and tranquillity of his new life in Wattle Camp, was quickly soured after confusion with his police check meant his contract was ripped up.

As a result of the loss of employment, Mr Hovey has lost upwards of $80,000.

Mr Hovey was a contracted service line review consultant working at CITEC, who provide technology infrastructure, business solutions and support to state government and commercial organisations in Queensland.

As part of his contractual requirements, Mr Hovey was required to complete a police check.

"I advised them I had completed one in June to work for the Department of Justice and Attorney General," he said.

"They agreed for me to start work based on providing this but said it was policy that they run their own as well."

"They told me it was just a formality."

Mr Hovey was not concerned about the thought of doing another police check as he had a clean record despite an incident many years earlier where he was involved in an altercation with his sister's drug-affected ex-boyfriend.

"I was found guilty, but no criminal conviction recorded," he said.

This incident had not affected Mr Hovey in gaining any other job or passing a police check in the past.

At 1pm on August 22, Mr Hovey was asked into the office of his direct manager and HR representatives.

He was informed he had failed the criminal record check.

"They told me to go home for the day, we can either rip your contract up on the spot because it actually takes ages for us to go through this process or we can put your contract on hold until it is complete," he said.

"I went home thinking, what just happened?

"The next day I got a call telling me they decided the appeals process takes a long time so they are just going to rip up my contract."

Mr Hovey said he was told he would not be given any notice because he "lied" on the form.

"My contract was due to run through to November 30, 2018, but it was terminated early on August 23," he said.

Mr Hovey has spoken with a lawyer to attempt to get some clarity on his terminated contract.

"It looks as though it is a standard criminal records check, it quotes a bunch of acts and unless you look up these acts you would not know what they are about," he said.

Mr Hovey claims one particular act on the criminal check, The Police services administration act 1990 goes above what is required for the role he was doing.

"That is the act that relates to vetting police for service in Queensland," he said.

"So I was actually being submitted to the same level of criminal records check as someone applying to be a serving police officer in the Queensland Police."

Mr Hovey has spent many wasted hours and undergone extreme stress as he attempts to appeal his terminated contract.

"Everyone I have dealt with has just had this attitude of 'yeah, we accept that there is a problem, we know we have done the wrong thing, we know our processes are broken, but it'd be hard work for us to fix it so we don't really care'," he said.

While the lost income has affected Mr Hovey's livelihood, he is less concerned about the money and more focused on this issue not happening to anyone else.

"I am out of pocket over $80,000," he said.

"It's really screwed my life and I just don't want it to screw anyone else over."

The government department involved in this issue, Department of Housing and Public Works, made a comment regarding Mr Hovey's concerns.

"The department always acts in accordance with its contractual employment obligations and we are not at liberty to comment further," they said.

Member for Nanango and leader of the Queensland opposition, Deb Frecklington, is assisting Mr Hovey and has written to the minister to address these concerns.

South Burnett

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