Can Your Employer Fire You If You Are Arrested in Utah?
Being arrested for an alleged criminal offense often has a significant ripple effect on the rest of your life. Not only must you contend with potential criminal charges, but your employment and any professional licenses could be in jeopardy.
Usually, an employer cannot fire you just for being arrested. An arrest does not necessarily mean you even did anything wrong, and you are innocent until proven guilty. Even so, an employer could fire you for unprofessional conduct related to your arrest or if the reason for your arrest somehow interferes with your ability to do your job.
There are many consequences of an arrest, and losing your job might be one of them. Our Utah criminal defense lawyers can help you clear your name so you do not lose your job. Call Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287 for a free initial case evaluation.
Will I Lose My Job If I Am Arrested in Utah?
If you are arrested in Utah, you could lose your job. However, termination is not usually based on the arrest itself but the behavior or conduct connected to it. Employers should not fire employees for being arrested outside of work for conduct that is connected to their job.
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission – a federal agency – an arrest on its own cannot be used to justify firing someone. An arrest can lead an employer to question whether the employee’s conduct is acceptable. After an arrest, you can contact our Utah criminal defense lawyers for help.
You could be fired from your job if the alleged offense for which you were arrested makes you unfit for your job. For example, a teacher might be fired if they were arrested for allegedly assaulting a student. You could also be fired if the arrest happened because of inappropriate behavior that occurred while you were on the job. Generally, an employer’s burden of proof is going to be far lower than the government’s.
An arrest could cost you your professional license. Without your license, you might be unable to do your job, so you lose it in the end anyway. For example, attorneys must remain in good moral standing to keep their licenses. An attorney arrested for a crime might face a license suspension, and they can no longer do their job.
An arrest need not be recent to affect your job. Suppose you were asked about any arrests or convictions that might prevent you from doing your job, and you said you had none. Now suppose that you were arrested just the year before. You might not be fired for the arrest, but you could be fired for lying about it in your job interview.
Reasons You Might Lose Your Job After an Arrest in Utah
You could be fired from your job after being arrested if the underlying behavior of the arrest someone affects your ability to do your job. Not every arrest will directly impact your job, but it is important to talk to an attorney about your case anyway. Our Murray criminal defense lawyers can review your case and help you fight your charges.
Suppose you were arrested for an alleged DUI and work as a professional truck driver. Truck drivers must maintain clean driving records to keep their commercial drivers’ licenses (CDLs) and their jobs. An arrest for a DUI might lead your employer to fire you because they cannot have their truckers drinking while driving.
Other jobs require employees to have a strong moral character or be trustworthy. For example, people who work with large sums of money must be trusted to be honest. An arrest might indicate to an employer that their employee is less trustworthy. This is especially so if the arrest is for a fraud-related crime.
You could also be fired if your arrest happened at work, even if it did not directly relate to your job. For example, being arrested because you and a coworker got into a physical altercation might be grounds for termination. Your employee does not have to wait for a conviction or a jury verdict to fire you for conduct they deem unprofessional or dangerous.
If you are arrested, having a skilled attorney by your side can help you clear your name and avoid a conviction, which is far worse for your employment.
How Does an Arrest in Utah Affect My Professional License?
An arrest might affect the status of any professional license you have. It is important to discuss this with your attorney, as some licenses could be affected but not others. Crimes can also affect drivers’ licenses or gun licenses needed for work. Our Orem criminal defense lawyers can help you dispute any criminal charges so you can keep your licenses.
According to Utah Code § 58-1-304(1), the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing may restrict a professional license for certain prohibited behavior. One such behavior is unlawful or unprofessional activity. This means that being arrested for a crime might put your professional license in jeopardy.
Your employer does not even need to consider your arrest or alleged criminal offense if you lose your license. Without a professional license, you might be unable to do your job at all, and your employer might not have any other choice than to let you go or suspend you. The same is true for jobs that require a drivers’ license or gun license.
What If My Arrest in Utah Happened Years Ago and My Employer Only Just Found Out?
Some arrests happened a long time ago, and perhaps you did not bring it up because you felt it was irrelevant or feared you would not be hired. The consequences of lying about this information depend on who your employer is.
Under Utah Code § 34-52-201(1), a public employer cannot require you to disclose a conviction during a job interview. If you lied about having been arrested, your employer might actually be the one in trouble for asking an illegal question. Keep in mind that certain public employers like law enforcement agencies or employers within the criminal justice system are allowed to ask such questions.
According to Utah Code § 34-52-301, private employers are permitted to make these kinds of inquiries, but you are allowed to withhold information about expunged records. You should not be in trouble if your previous arrest was expunged, but if it was not, you could be in trouble for lying to your employer.
Call Our Utah Criminal Defense Lawyers for Assistance
If you were recently arrested, your job and livelihood could be on the line. Our Park City criminal defense attorneys can help you fight your charges and clear your name. Call Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287 for a free initial case review.