Can Criminal Accusations Affect Employment?

April 3, 2020, By

Our Crime and Employment teams joined forces on the Case Closed podcast to discuss the impact of criminal accusations on employment.

Tracey Guest and Sarah Calderwood from the Employment team joined Rachel Fletcher from Crime & Regulatory for this discussion.

We have picked out a couple of the discussion topics for you to explore here, but you can listen to the podcast episode in full if you wish.

Criminal accusations can arise in two ways

  • Something that arises outside of work
  • Something that has arisen inside the workplace

The source of the accused offence can impact the measures which are taken to address it and discipline employees. While some accusations can directly affect the ability to work, others may have no direct impact.

Are employees obliged to tell their employer of a criminal accusation?

If an employee is under investigation for something that has arisen outside of work, it is expected that out of openness, they should advise their employer, even if it does not directly relate to work.

For example, say somebody is accused of speeding but they work in a shop which they walk to, rather than drive to. There is no direct impact on their ability to work and there is no danger for anybody else in the workplace. For instances like this, there isn’t much need to tell the employer.

In contrast, say somebody who works in an accounts department was accused of shoplifting. There is an issue of morality and integrity here, so the employer should be notified. It is then up to the employer what actions they decide to take. For serious cases it is highly advised to seek expert legal advice.

Check employment contracts

These days, most employment contracts state that even if you are not convicted of an offence, you should tell your employer.

Depending on the type of work you are in, you may also be under obligation by a code of conduct or governing body to disclose an accusation or investigation.

Employers should consider all options

If somebody whose job involves driving around daily is given a driving ban, there may be a clause in their contract that could be interpreted as grounds to dismiss the employee.

Employers, however, must tread carefully or risk a claim for unfair dismissal. Instead, an employer could consider the length of the ban and if alternative transport could be used for the person to carry out their work.

In fact, sometimes an employer can be helpful when disputing a potential ban if the ability to carry on working will be affected.

Listen to the episode for more

There is much more to this discussion with great advice on our podcast episode, which can be listened to through our website or on Spotify.

New episodes are released each month, so if you are keen to keep up to date with the latest legal discussions, you can subscribe to Case Closed.

Contact our specialists for advice

Our employment and crime specialists are on hand to assist with matters relating to the topics discussed in this podcast, whenever you need them.

Do not hesitate to reach out with queries. You can call us directly on 0161 969 3131 or request a call back and we will be in touch as quickly as we can.