Is it legal to suspend or fire an employee for getting charged with a crime outside of work before they’re even convicted?

UPDATED: Jun 12, 2011

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Is it legal to suspend or fire an employee for getting charged with a crime outside of work before they’re even convicted?

Asked on June 12, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Minnesota


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Events that happen outside of work and do not affect an employee's performance or threaten a company's security are generally not grounds for termination. An employer should also ask: Is the offense related to the employee's job? For example, typically a court would not object to a bank firing a bank teller who convicted for counterfeiting but a court probably would not support a termination for an off-the-job drunk driving conviction.  

Additionally, an employee who has been charged can be suspended or moved that employee to a less sensitive position. But generally it is not a good idea to consider the issue of termination until the investigation is completed or until the employee is convicted.

At this point you may want to speak directly to an employment law attorney to be sure of your rights.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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