06 February, 2014
An Employment expert at Forbes Solicitors is warning employers that the case involving actor William Roache should serve as a timely reminder about the employment implications of a criminal prosecution.
Where an employee is accused or convicted of a criminal offence in relation to conduct carried out outside the individual's employment, an employer should not automatically look to discipline or dismiss the individual solely on this basis. However, employers are not required to await the outcome of the criminal prosecution before taking fair and reasonable action.
Before contemplating whether to take any disciplinary action, an employer should take a number of matters into consideration. Amongst these are the nature of employee's alleged offence, what bearing the alleged offence would have on the employee's ability to do their job and the impact on the business and reputation of the employer. Employers could also consider whether the offence calls into question the mutual trust and confidence relationship, and also the employee's relationship with work colleagues and customers.
Jonathan Holden of Forbes Solicitors comments that "Employers need to act cautiously if an employee is accused of committing a criminal offence. The severity of the offence and implications on the individual's ability to carry out their job should be considered carefully. Disciplinary action on the grounds of a criminal conviction should be approached with caution and should focus on the conduct of the employee in the context of their duties and responsibilities as an employee, rather than the criminal wrongdoing. For example, where a criminal conviction leads to the loss of a driving licence so that continued employment in a driving job would be illegal, the criminal offence has a substantial impact on the employee's ability to carry out their job."