If an employee has been found guilty of a felony, can she be terminated?

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If an employee has been found guilty of a felony, can she be terminated?

The employee contacted me that she pled guilty to neglect of dependent, a felony 6. She received 545 days probation and community service. She works as a caregiver for our senior clients.

Asked on May 30, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Indiana

Answers:

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

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

As a general rule, most states will allow an employer to terminate a worker based on a criminal conviction after they have started their employment. The fact is that most work relationships are "at will". This means that a business can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit, absent some form of legally actionable discrimintion. Accordingly, unless your terminating this employee will treatment in some way violate the terms of an employment contract or union agreement that she may have, it is lawful and she will have no claim against you.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

If there is no written employment contract, an employee is an "employee at will" and can be terminated at any time for any reason--so certainly for committing a felony. There is no law barring termination for criminal records. (But proof of commission of a crime is not required: it would be enough that the employer decided this employee was a risk or not of the proper character--that is a perfectly legitimate reason to terminate an employee at will.)
If there is a written employment contract, consult it for grounds for termination.


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