Some of the most successful businesses owners in the world often say that one of the best practices is to treat employees like you would family. So, what would you do if your brother, or child, or mother was arrested? Would you still treat an employee like family if you awoke one morning to find out they had been arrested last night?
What to Do if an Employee Gets Arrested
Stay Calm – One of the most dangerous things you can do as a business owner is to start making rash decisions. Before you immediately go to fire the employee, remember that this is America, and in America, people are innocent until proven guilty.
Also, firing them on the spot could potentially be a violation of employment law, which could easily turn into a huge, expensive lawsuit down the road.
Gather All Information – No federal law exists which prohibits an employer from asking about an employee’s recent arrest. Have a sit down conversation with them to hear their side of the story. Whether it is a “wrong place, wrong time” situation, or something more serious, you normally shouldn’t make any decisions without learning all the facts.
If the employee is still in jail, the best way to find out what happened is to take a look at the arrest record. They are public record, and you can find them at the police station or courthouse.
Determine Your Legal Options – After gathering all the relevant information you can find; you can start to evaluate your legal options.
New Jersey has no law banning you from making employment decisions based on a worker’s arrest record, if you choose to terminate them. Additionally, you may decide to fire an arrested employee not for being arrested necessarily, but for missing too much work if they remain in jail for an extended period.
What you cannot do, however, is fire an employee simply because they have a criminal record. It’s best in more serious situations to consult a business lawyer before making final decisions. Also, a business attorney can help you draft a company policy so that next time, God forbid, you will know exactly what to do.
The business attorneys at Garland & Mason, LLC have years of experience helping small business owners in the area protect themselves in delicate situations, and are proud to help companies become as successful as possible.