According to the National Federation of Independent Businesses, this can be a tricky question. There is, after all, a distinction between being arrested and charged with a crime and being convicted. It is important to remember – everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Arrests do not concretely indicate that an employee is found guilty of committing a crime.
A conviction of a crime may be a serious matter. The EEOC allows for disciplinary action up to and included termination if an employee is convicted of a crime provided that there is a valid business interest and that the policy is followed universally.
The best thing that a business can do to protect itself in the case of an employee getting in trouble with the law is to set out a policy for such contingencies in advance. There are things that need to be taken into account when setting forth the policy:
- What is the nature of the business?
- What is the crime that the employee was alleged to have or has been convicted of committing?
- How long will the employee be held in jail?
- Does the criminal conduct have any relevance to the job the employee was performing?
- Has the policy been reviewed by legal counsel prior to its being put into effect?
Thus when dealing with an employee who has run afoul of the law, a fine line has to be walked between protecting the business and other employees and taking due heed to the employee’s civil rights.
If you have any questions or would like to learn more about this topic, please reach out to Genesis HR Solutions at AskUs@genesishrsolutions.com or 800-367-8367.
Genesis HR Solutions is the premier PEO provider for Massachusetts based businesses.