If a former employee has been arrested for a crime but not yet convicted, what responsibilities do we as a business have to inform our customers?

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If a former employee has been arrested for a crime but not yet convicted, what responsibilities do we as a business have to inform our customers?

What is our risk of slander if we inform our families since he is not yet convicted? Or conversely appearing to cover up the fact if we don’t inform our families since we know he has been arrested? We are a school and the alleged crime is of a sexual nature.

Asked on December 12, 2011 under Business Law, Montana

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I suggest that the best way to handle the situation is to immediately contact an employment attorney as to the best way to handle the situation. My inclination is to place this particular employee on leave with pay pending the final result of the charges pending against him and say nothing to any of the clients of their parents. In this country, one is presumed guilty of a criminal offense until proven guilty.

If you have an employee handbook for your school, I suggest that you carefully read it in that it could possibly set forth the protocol in how to deal with the employee who was arrested for a crime of a sexual nature. Given the fact that he is an employee of a school, you have a tight rope to walk across on this situation.


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