Suspended sentence employment rules are set out to give guidance to employees and employers on what should happen if an employee is handed a suspended sentence.
If an employee receives a criminal record while in employment, the assumption is that they need to tell their employer.
And that the employer has a right to dismiss them immediately.
But that’s not necessarily true.
Whether or not a dismissal is an option will depend on more than one factor and it’s not as simple as saying that the trust has broken down or the relationship can no longer continue.
In fact, given the risk of a potential unfair dismissal claim, it’s important that proper consideration and a thorough investigation are conducted before any decision is made.
What If An Employee Receives A Suspended Sentence?
If an employee receives a suspended sentence, it doesn’t automatically mean that they should lose their job.
In fact, consideration should be made by employers on the facts of the case. It’s worth noting that there’s no specific rule that entitles an employer to immediately dismiss an employee if they’ve been given a suspended sentence.
The first thing that should be done is to consider the seriousness of the offence.
Given that a suspended sentence has been handed down, it’s unlikely that the crime fits into the most severe tier of criminal behaviour, otherwise, a more severe sentence would have been given out.
Is the crime a low-level crime such as unpaid parking fines or driving offences?
If so, employment tribunals are unlikely to look favourably upon dismissals for low-level crimes that have no bearing on an employee’s ability to perform their role.
Employment tribunals will look carefully at any decision to dismiss an employee and the considerations that have been made by employers.
As such, the key question with any suspended sentence is whether there is a clear connection between the crime and the work the employee carries out.
For example, a serious driving offence might represent a significant concern for an employer if the employee’s role involves operating a vehicle and there may be a legitimate reason for action to be taken.
But that doesn’t have to mean dismissal.
What Considerations Should Employers Make For Suspended Sentences?
The first point, as we’ve outlined, is what the connection is between the crime and the job that the employee is performing.
If there’s a legitimate reason to believe that allowing them to continue in their role could damage the employee’s reputation or cause clients to lose confidence in them, then there may be a reason to act.
A similar situation could be if an employee who conducts payroll or financial transactions on behalf of a business is convicted of a financial crime or theft.
It would be reasonable for an employer to take the view that they could no longer be trusted to carry out their role with the utmost integrity in that case and as long as a proper investigation was conducted, the employer may well be within their rights to take action.
Public association with some crimes, particularly those of a violent or sexual nature, could be damaging for many employers and dismissal may be an option in cases of this nature.
In fact, public attention to a particular case can play a significant part in an employer’s decision. There have been high-profile cases where an employee has been convicted of a crime and dismissed from their role with their employer before appealing the decision with an employment tribunal.
And in those cases, the tribunal has ruled that the public attention to the case and the individual could bring the employer’s reputation into disrepute, which was a key reason why the dismissal was justified.
The reality is that while all of our personal lives are separate from our working lives, committing criminal offences extends beyond the realm of our private lives. It can affect those we work with, the business itself, and the reputation of you as an employee within the organisation.
If clients and members of the public lose trust in you because of a crime you’ve committed, employers may feel they have no choice but to dismiss you to protect their reputation.
There are, of course, other options other than dismissal.
It might be that there is an alternative role that you could perform within the business, that you are handed an official warning, or you could even be placed on a probation-type system to monitor performance.
Solicitors Near Me
If you need help or advice because you’ve been handed a suspended sentence and you’re not sure what happens next, we’re here to help.
Certainty about your future is vital and knowing whether your employer could dismiss you or not is essential. If you’ve been dismissed and believe you may have a claim for unfair dismissal, Solicitors Near Me are here to help.
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