How to Handle Employees Accused of a Crime

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People who commit crimes in the workplace put business owners and HR experts in a difficult situation. Finding out that a coworker has been convicted of a crime can significantly influence your professional relationship since you both share a workplace.

Your alternatives and actions will be easier to navigate if you know where the crime came from and fully understand who the employee is in a professional context. No matter what your choice is, always make sure that whatever you do is legal.

Avoid Knee-jerk Reactions

In addition, companies must keep in mind that simply because a police investigation is underway, an employee shouldn’t immediately be suspended or fired. In place of that, You should take a fair and blameless strategy before making a quick judgment.

For example, someone accuses another employee of bullying. You can move them to a new function or department until after conducting a full investigation. Before making rash decisions, an employer should conduct internal investigations.

Evaluate the Situation

Was this offense committed on the job or in the employee’s free time, and if so, where? They’re very different in terms of implications. HR and management will need to talk about workplace crime. You must call the police if the offense is evident, such as physical violence, theft, or property damage.

If you’re in the healthcare industry or interact with vulnerable customers, patients, or clients, some crimes may not be blatant enough to be deemed illegal. The wisest course of action is to seek a criminal attorney if you’re unsure that an activity is criminally or morally wrong.

The employee’s conduct must also be reported to other agencies if any concerns are raised during the investigation, such as youngsters or senior citizens that the person may be working with. However, you don’t have the responsibility to talk to the police about crimes outside the workplace. There is no need to contact the police if they have already questioned or arrested the employee. Be available if your legal counsel suggests that you answer questions.

Consider Disciplinary Action

Call the police if the criminal conduct was extreme. You should follow the advice of your lawyer if you are unsure. However, even if they committed the offense outside the workplace, you’ll still need to determine how to handle disciplinary punishment.

If an employee is the subject of a continuing criminal investigation, you are not compelled to provide compensation until the matter is resolved. During this period, you have the option of suspending an employee without pay while waiting for the police to do their work. Your company may investigate the matter during this period, and police agencies may provide you with limited information.

Disciplinary action might be impossible if the offense happened outside of the workplace. In particular, this is true if the violation cannot be rationally related to workplace insubordination.

Procedures for Discipline

Employers don’t have to wait for the judicial processes to conclude before undertaking their internal investigations. Waiting for the outcome of the criminal procedures, which might take many years, could negatively influence the firm.

When it comes to disciplinary processes in criminal cases, employers must conform to the existing code of conduct. This means that if a dismissal is in the works, you will need to inform the employee in advance. Other options for punishment and a chance to appeal need to be explored, as well as written warnings and an appeals process.

Determine the Employee’s Fate

It is possible to dismiss an employee if the violation was extreme and happened at work. It’s acceptable to fire an employee who has stolen from you, harmed a coworker, or exploited your property to execute a criminal activity.

Determining an employee’s fate for offenses outside of the office will need a bit more thought. It is crucial to consider how a particular transgression impacts a person’s credibility or capacity to perform their job. In the retail industry, a shoplifting incident may be sufficient grounds to release an employee, may not be reasonable to fire a file clerk.

You should also take into account your company’s reputation. High-profile crimes, such as murder or sex offenses, might harm your organization. Employees that represent a significant risk to the public’s opinion of your firm should probably be terminated. You have the right to release an employee for any reason, as long as it is not deemed unlawful.

When an employee is convicted or under investigation for a crime, HR departments should maintain a calm demeanor in the workplace. As a result, you need to take the appropriate steps to deal with the problem. Before making rash decisions, be sure to follow the proper procedures.

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