What to Do if an Employee is Convicted of a Criminal Offense

Posted: 10th December 2020 11:30

Employers often find it hard to know what to do if an employee is charged or convicted of a criminal offense. While an employee committing a criminal offense is not normally in itself a reason to take disciplinary action or dismiss an employee, employers need to consider whether the conviction or charge will influence the employee’s suitability to continue in their role. Keep reading below to find out more:

Crimes Committed at Work

Over the last few years, we’ve seen an increase in the number of criminal offenses committed by employees while at work. Common examples of crimes committed in the workplace include theft, fraud and driving offenses that occur during working hours or while driving a work vehicle.

If criminal activity happens in the workplace, then the employer will need to carry out an internal investigation into the crime. Business owners do not have to wait until an employee has been successfully prosecuted by a court before carrying out their own internal investigations and procedures. Once the investigation is complete, business owners can hold a disciplinary hearing.

It’s important to remember that an employee may choose not to answer any of your questions during an investigation. They will usually be supported by a criminal lawyer such as the criminal lawyers at Edelson Law. If an employee chooses not to help with the investigation, then the employer will need to reach a decision based on whether there is reasonable belief that the employee is guilty of the crime.

Crimes Committed Outside the Workplace

It’s often much harder for an employer to discipline an employee who committed a criminal offense outside of work. One of the main reasons for this is because employees do not have to tell their employers about any ongoing criminal investigations against them.

In many cases, employers become aware of the conduct when an employee fails to show for work or when a police officer arrives on the work premises to arrest the employee.

As we mentioned above, it’s not always possible to discipline or dismiss an employee for committing a criminal offense outside of work. Certain criminal offenses that have no connection with the job role; for example, a driving offense where the employee is not expected to drive as part of their role, should not be investigated.

However, some criminal convictions can have an impact on an employee’s job; for example, being charged with having pedophile-related content on a home computer. In this instance, if the employee works with children, then the employer has the right to investigate further.

What to Do if an Employee is Convicted of a Criminal Offense

If an employee is charged with a criminal offense, this is the process you should follow:

So, what should employers do if an employee is convicted or accused of a criminal offense? The first thing business owners need to do is consider whether there is a genuine connection between an offense committed by an employee and their role within the business. They then need to decide what action, if any, to take against the employee.