News Article

latest news in employment law

Employer Obligations Where Employee Has Committed Criminal Offence In Workplace

Published 01 Jul 2010

It often happens that misconduct which occurs within the workplace is also the subject of a police investigation. When faced with such circumstances, employers are sometimes tempted to believe that the problem is no longer theirs and simply leave the matter in the hands of the Police. Prior to doing this, of course, they dismiss the employee, believing that the criminal offence is sufficient to justify their action.

Such a course of action can fail to take account of the fact that criminal matters are legally separate from employment matters and must be treated as such. It may be that a criminal action has little or no detrimental effect on the employment relationship.

Whatever the alleged criminal offence, any attempt to dismiss the employee would have to comply with the usual requirements of procedural and substantive fairness. The requirement to hold an inquiry should still apply even if the employee is in police custody and the inquiry has to be held in his/her absence.

Ensure you get the process correct, see our Discipline and Dismissal publication. This is free to Employer Support Package members.