What an Employer Should Do if an Employee is Arrested for a DUI


Whether an employee has come to you and told you they have been arrested for a DUI, or you have heard about it from someone else in the company, you’re likely wondering what steps to take. A search on Google doesn’t bring up a lot of information, and unless you have a lawyer working for your company, it can be hard to know what to do for the best. In this article, we’re going to look at the three main steps that you should take.

1. Focus on the Facts

This is something that should go without saying, but it’s important to make sure that you are aware of all the facts. If you have only heard of the DUI from another employee, you’ll want to make sure you speak to the person accused instead of believing someone else’s account word for word. One of the main things you’ll want to consider here is whether the employee was driving for the company when the arrest occurred. If he was, you may want to suspend the employee until you find out more facts. If the employee was arrested on their own time, and their role for the company doesn’t involve driving a vehicle, you may be able to be more lenient. Either way, you need the facts before you can make a decision.

2. Determine the Effects on the Business

Once you are aware of the facts of the arrest, you can then determine how it may harm your business. Will the arrest require your employee to spend any time in jail when you need them to be at work? Will the company’s reputation be at risk? Or will it not really affect anything? You need to determine whether it is wise to keep the employee in work, or whether it would be better to suspend or fire them. If you keep them on, you could also require them to use an Interlock car breathalyzer before driving any company cars, especially if the arrest is going to lead to an increase in your insurance. What you do should be decided on a case by case basis.

3. Look at the Business’ Policy

If your business has a company handbook, take a look at it and see what is mentioned regarding mandatory firing policies. Certain crimes may be cause for an instant dismissal, however you may be required to wait to see if the employee is convicted of the crime before you can do anything. It’s also wise to speak to a lawyer about what your legal options are. You don’t want to suspend or fire an employee only to end up with a lawsuit after they were arrested, but later not convicted of the crime.

In addition to the points above, you may also want to consider whether the arrest was a result of a one-time stupid mistake, or whether the employee is suffering from alcoholism, something which may be considered a disability. You may also want to consider whether the employee’s actions could make the company look bad in the future should another incident occur. It’s best to always get the facts, speak to the employee in question, and speak to an attorney before deciding on the best course of action to take.


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Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. CascadeBusNews.com • CBN@CascadeBusNews.com

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