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JOBSEEKERS will undergo character checks and could be refused employment if they were bullies at school.
In a new offensive against high school bullies, employers will reject job applications from young people who have engaged in bullying, cyber stalking, harassment or threatening behaviour.
ClubsNSW will launch the radical scheme today, with a trial involving 12 major employers and plans to next year roll it out to 1400 clubs employing 43,000 staff statewide.
Under BullyCheck, which the O’Farrell government supports, job applicants aged 17 to 22 will be asked to consent to a reference check from their current or former high school and will not be hired if they fail the character test.
The scheme, which could be expanded to other major employers, follows a number of extreme bullying incidents in which teenage victims have been driven to suicide. Schools have been accused of failing to deal with malicious and unprovoked attacks.
Club chiefs said it was the first program with real consequences for bullies – putting them on notice their behaviour could seriously jeopardise their job prospects and ability to buy a car, a house or travel.
Schools participating in the program agreed to provide information confidentially to employers about a job applicant’s background.
To protect privacy, no personal documents will be released and jobseekers will not be told why their application was refused.
Anti-bullying experts will go into schools to run forums warning students that their future career could be affected by aggressive behaviour.
ClubsNSW chief executive Anthony Ball said the program would be adopted by clubs across NSW next year.
“The message is simple – if you bully then you are risking your own career prospects,” Mr Ball said.
“Until now, anti-bullying programs have focused on the effect on the victim. Considering bullies show a complete lack of concern for their victim, we will have a greater impact by forcing bullies to think about the effect their bullying will have on them.
“Clubs will be going into schools with the message that the consequences of bullying will not be erased when they leave high school.
“If students have engaged in serious bullying, cyber stalking or threatening behaviour clubs will not hesitate to reject their job application.”
If a student voluntarily raises their bullying history and demonstrates remorse and a high level of community service then their application for a job may be considered on its merits, ClubsNSW said.
Gaming and Racing Minister George Souris said Bullycheck was a fantastic initiative.
“Bullying both at school and in the workplace has a costly and devastating effect on victims and the community at large and I congratulate ClubsNSW on helping to fight this scourge,” he said.