How long can an employer suspend you for before it has to either take you back or fire you?

I received a DWI 6 months ago. My license was suspended but due to my job, which requires driving, I had someone drive me around until 2 months ago. The license they had on file had is suspended so they needed a current one which I didn’t have one. All I had was a temporary license. I told them of DWI and they asked why I did not inform them of it. I told them that there was no need to, since I wasn’t driving and I am fighting these charges. However, my employer suspended me. I have court tomorrow and the district attorney has agreed to drop all charges. Yet my employer refuses to fire me but won’t let me return to work.

Asked on March 31, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Well, the employer is protecting itself. Here is the issue from the employer's standpoint (because I know sometimes it is hard to see the other side): Employer has an employee who is employed as a driver or who's job description and responsibilities require a driver's license. You no longer have a valid one due to a DWI and the employer doesn't want to jeopardize the business by not knowing if you would be driving during work hours for work business while intoxicated. It has not made a decision yet as to your fate and in all fairness and in most states, it can fire you with or without cause. Since the district attorney has agreed to drop all charges, you still most likely will have to go before the judge to agree to have charges dropped. If that occurs, you will have an arrest I assume so you still need to deal with that issue and of course, once and if you receive the court order dropping charges, you need to square it away with the Department of Motor Vehicles and make sure if there are points on your record that they be taken off since charges were dropped. If you have a valid license after that, it might be best to talk to your attorney about somehow serving as a mediator to get you back to work and to diffuse the situation with your employer.

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