Can you fire an employee if you find out that he is a sex offender?

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Can you fire an employee if you find out that he is a sex offender?

The employee answered no to felonies on their application but a background check shows that he is a sex offender. However, he didn’t reveal that info during the hiring process and the job requires him to close to daycares, schools, etc. What is my legal right? Can I dismiss this employee without backlash or lawsuit for withholding information? Also, if he stays he will have to go around to homes and businesses in towns an change water meters. Will we receive backlash? What are the rules for this type of situation?

Asked on May 24, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Mississippi

Answers:

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

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

First of all, a worker can be denied continuing employment based on their criminal history record, as being convicted of a crime does not put a person in a "legally protected class". So while you cannot discriminate against someone based on their race, religion, gender, nationality, age (over 40), nationality, or disability, there is no such protection for someone who has been convicted of a crime. Additionally, you can discharge a worker for not being truthful on their job application. Finally, absent an employment contract or union agreement to the contrary, most work is "at will". This means that an employee can be fired for any reason or no reason at all, with or without notice.

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

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

First of all, a worker can be denied continuing employment based on their criminal history record, as being convicted of a crime does not put a person in a "legally protected class". So while you cannot discriminate against someone based on their race, religion, gender, nationality, age (over 40), nationality, or disability, there is no such protection for someone who has been convicted of a crime. Additionally, you can discharge a worker for not being truthful on their job application. Finally, absent an employment contract or union agreement to the contrary, most work is "at will". This means that an employee can be fired for any reason or no reason at all, with or without notice. 


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