What to Do if Your Employee Has Been Accused of a Crime

Business / Sunday, February 7th, 2021

With employees spending eight to ten hours per working day at their workplace, it’s no surprise that on some occasions, their personal issues can spill over into their professional life. One such instance might be when an employee is accused of a crime that is not related to their professional life. If you are dealing with an employee who is the subject of a criminal investigation, it’s important to react carefully and take the right future steps. Remember that your employee may still be innocent, yet it’s important to ensure that your company is protected from legal scrutiny.

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Avoid Making a Quick Decision

Many companies would be quick to fire or suspend an employee that is being investigated by the police, but this is not always the best case. If the employee is eventually released without charge, your company might come under fire for making rash decisions regarding somebody who is indeed innocent. Before taking an immediate decision, a fair and no-blame approach should be adopted. Carry out an internal investigation before making a hasty decision.

Suspension or Disciplinary Action: When is it Needed?

Your company will need to decide whether the allegations of a crime against your employee will be of any threat to the employment relationship. You should only suspend or dismiss the employee if the investigations are likely to put the integrity of your organization at risk, damage its image, or cause harm to your company’s relationship with its customers or other employees. A suspension without a good reason is more likely to be detrimental to you as the employer, especially if the employee files a discrimination claim as a result.

What to Do if an Employee is Formally Charged

If an employee has been charged for a crime outside of the workplace, the first thing to do is find out if they are represented by a lawyer. Avoid discussing details of the allegation until you have first spoken to your own lawyer. Be careful of what you speak about with the suspected employee to avoid any potential complications for your company in the future. Sites like campolidefense.com can help if either you or your employee is in need of legal representation.

When to Dismiss or Suspend an Employee

If the nature of the criminal allegations and/or charges will impact directly on your company, you should ask the employee to refrain from work. You should suspend the employee if you believe that their presence in the workplace will put the reputation or health and safety of the workplace at risk. If an employee is convicted of the crime and found guilty, as an employer you have the right to dismiss them if there has been a breach of trust and confidence in the workplace. You should not dismiss an employee until they have been found guilty, or if the nature of the criminal allegations is directly relevant to their employment.

Dealing with an employee who has been accused of a crime can be troubling, but it’s important to take appropriate steps to protect your company in this situation.

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