You know that you could be fired from your job if you’re convicted of committing a crime, especially if that crime happened in the workplace. For instance, maybe someone alleges that you stole company property. If you are convicted of a crime in court, it makes sense that the company would terminate your employment.
But what if you haven’t been convicted yet? Can you be fired simply based on the allegations that you may have committed a crime, or is your company going to allow you to stay employed unless there is an actual conviction and you wind up with a criminal record?
Do you have an employment contract?
The real question to ask yourself is whether or not you have a contract that guarantees you any sort of protection from termination. If not, you are likely an at-will employee. These employees can notoriously be fired for any reason, as long as it’s not something illegal like race or gender.
What this means is that your employer can definitely fire you over criminal allegations, even if you claim that you did nothing wrong. Should that case go to court, you may even be cleared. That does not mean they have to give you your job back or that they’ve done anything wrong by firing you.
If you have a contract, however, it may offer you a bit more protection by stating that you need to be convicted of a crime or something of this nature. Additionally, many companies will put an employee on leave or on probation while gathering evidence, and then they’ll make a decision when there is something a little more solid than just an allegation.
No matter what, though, criminal charges can certainly impact your employment status, which is just one more reason to understand all of your legal defense options.