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Does My Employer Need To Know If I’m Charged With A Crime?

You’re charged with a crime. You fear losing your job if you tell your employer—and maybe losing your job if you don’t tell.

You might want to rush to tell your side of the story. But your first stop should be an attorney’s office, not the boss’s office. Get legal advice about whether to reveal charges and how to explain to them if you do.

In many cases, you aren’t obliged to divulge charges. The consequences depend on your job, your employer, the allegation, and the law. Ask:

  • Is there an attendance policy? If you miss work while in jail or court, you might violate attendance rules and will end up having to reveal the reason.
  • Could these charges affect your work? For example, if driving a vehicle is a job requirement, and the charge is DUI, the charge is relevant to your employment.
  • Do you have a contract? It might stipulate that you inform your employer about run-ins with the law.
  • Is there an employee handbook? See if it requires you to report charges. Failure to report could be a firing offense—even if the charges are dropped or you’re acquitted.
  • Does your employer run background checks? If you hold a job where this happens even after initial hiring, you know it. And you know that arrests, charges, or convictions will turn up.
  • Are you in a field where employers commonly require reports of arrests or charges? Examples include public sector jobs, law enforcement, and education.
  • What do state laws say? If yours is an “at-will employment” state, an employer can fire an employee at any time, for any reason, as long as the firing doesn’t violate a contract, discriminate, or retaliate. Pennsylvania and New Jersey are both “at-will” states.

While you confer with a lawyer, protect yourself—don’t mention charges on social media. Airing your story on Twitter or Facebook is putting your business where a current or future employer could stumble onto it. If news reports mention the alleged crime, someone might spot the coverage, which you can’t control. Be aware of the news about your case so you can address it.

If charges are dropped or you’re acquitted, ask your lawyer if you can get records expunged or sealed. Sealed records can only be viewed with a court order. Expunged records are deleted, and are the best insurance against an employer locating evidence of charges.

The Law Offices of Richard J. Fuschino Jr. can provide you with one of the best criminal defense lawyers in Philadelphia. Our aggressive criminal lawyers in Philadelphia are available 24/7, so call now.