Employee criminal charges and facts.


Does your company or business have a policy for handling criminal charges within your team of employees or staff?

Should the sensitive issue of criminal charges or activity outside of working hours arise within, it can be difficult for HR teams or workplaces to handle. The status of “innocent before proven guilty” has been used for many years, but what about the negative discussions or behavior this might create in your workplace? How can we manage this with a set policy and procedure for the greatest outcome possible?

A recent case before Fair Work Commission showed the innocence status before the courts to be very relevant in the workplace. The worker was reinstated after being terminated from their job, as the charges alleged were dropped. A criminal charge is not ultimately a conviction. Is this a difficult scenario for Employers? Yes. Is it manageable by proper process? Of course.

            So how does the entity responsible for good policy creation on this proceed?

This can vary depending upon the environment of the workplace. Obviously if security clearances, for example, rely upon current police checks, which will not be available to the convicted employee, then there are concerns for them being able to complete their tasks.

Let’s discuss briefly however once the charge(s) are laid.

Step 1. Offer the employee a meeting time and place to discuss the charges and how they may be effected, including time away from work.

Step 2. Create the best communication channel for them based upon their preference. This is due to possible sensitive information or embarrassment.

Step 3. Perform a skill set test to open possible opportunities for the employee to perform should he or she have issues whilst court dates are pending, and also after the decision by the court.

Step 4. Draw up a list of issues and ramifications that will possibly occur and how, if possible, they can be dealt with.

A final note on this, and an important one, is to maintain the communication channel established and record it. This forms an essential part of the decision making process based on the outcome.

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