You could experience setbacks in your chosen career if you are ever charged with a crime in Florida. Many professions bestow an obligation upon a professional to report to a licensing authority that he or she has been charged with a crime. Additionally, other professions have rules in place that automatically suspend the person charged with a crime from his or her job.
Some jobs do not have such a requirement. Construction workers typically do not have to self-report to their employer or union that they have been charged with a crime. Notwithstanding, more and more professions demand perfection from their members as public scrutiny becomes fierce and the vitriol spewed by social media warriors screaming for justice drowns out rational thought. Consequently, many professionals get fired, suspended, passed over for promotion, or removed from their positions because of a criminal charge.
Which Professional Organizations Mandate Reporting of a Criminal Offense?
Any profession in which the public places their trust because of the ability of the professional to exert influence or upon whom the public rely to exhibit the highest character mandate self-reporting of a criminal offense. Professionals such as medical doctors, osteopathic doctors, dentists, nurses, physicians’ assistants, nurse practitioners, teachers, lawyers, financial professionals, commercial truck drivers, and others must report criminal offenses to their prospective licensing boards.
The Financial Industry Regulation Authority, or FINRA, enacted regulations that burden the financial professional to report criminal charges and convictions to the FINRA board and the professional’s employer. Refusing to notify FINRA or the employer will constitute sufficient grounds for termination.
The individual licensing board might commence administrative disciplinary action against the accused after learning of criminal charges pending against the licensee. Sometimes the licensing authorities stay the proceedings pending the outcome of the criminal case.
How Do Private Companies Handle Allegations of Criminal Conduct Among Their Employees?
Many private employers have provisions in their corporate codes of conduct or their employee handbooks that require an employee to report the existence of a criminal charge against them.
Some employers limit the charges which the employees must self-report to their manager or direct superior. Other businesses will try to create a broad category of charges that the employee must report to their boss. Broad handbook language could include requiring employees to report charges and convictions for breach of trust, theft, or dishonesty, DUI or drug charges, felonious acts of violence, and any other felony or misdemeanor charge or conviction they incur while acting as an employee.
Employers can consider a conviction, being charged with a crime, changing a plea from not guilty, a verdict or finding of guilty as a reason to fire, suspend, or take another adverse employment action against the employee. The employer normally reserves the right not to fire or terminate the employee simply because he or she received a charge. The employer must ask the employee to take corrective measures to ensure that the behavior does not occur again. Most importantly to the employer, he or she must be certain that the employee is now a liability to the company. The employer must determine if the employee could be trusted not to steal, lie, cheat, or otherwise damage the operation of the business and, equally important, the business’s reputation.
Adverse consequences of being charged with a crime can harm other areas of peoples’ lives. The person charged with a crime could face immigration consequences, be precluded from joining the U.S. military, be denied admission into the United States, denial of naturalization, disqualify the person for a particular job or a promotion, denial of admittance to an institution of higher learning, and lose financial aid.
What Should You Do If You Are Charged with a Crime and Most Report it to Your Employer or Licensing Authority?
Having a professional status is beneficial to the accused in court. Unless the crime is tied directly to the person’s job like embezzlement or a teacher accused of committing lewd and lascivious actions with a student, then the state attorney’s office could offer a diversion program because the employee is likely a first-time offender.
The benefit of the diversion program to the offender is tremendous in terms of the criminal case. However, professionals must consider collateral consequences, as well. Therefore, no professional should agree to accept entrance into a diversion program until he or she fully understands the implications doing so will have on their ability to work in their profession. Some employers consider entrance into a diversionary program tantamount to an admission of guilt and take adverse action against their employees.
Contacting a Florida criminal defense attorney with vast experience representing professionals charged with criminal offenses will help protect your livelihood. Speaking with criminal defense attorneys who understand the sensitivities of employers and their right to terminate employees at will before you enter into a diversion program will help protect your rights. Representing yourself, even with a relatively minor issue could irreparably harm you and your future.
In addition to calling a seasoned Florida criminal defense attorney right away as soon as you learn about an investigation or as on as you are charged, you must remember to remain silent Your right against self-incrimination is paramount to any other right you have when arrested. Use it. Invoking your right cannot be used against you at trial. The government cannot accuse you of hiding something or arguing that if you were innocent, then you would not have remained silent. The fact that you invoked your constitutionally protected right to remain silent is no indicator of the guilt of the accused.
Fact finders in a civil case and administrative hearings could use the defendant’s invocation of the right to remain silent against him or her. You must countenance those consequences with the possibility that you will implicate yourself in a crime if you speak. This is a very difficult but important decision to make and must not be hastily made. Therefore, you should contact a Florida criminal defense law firm that will create a strategy to defeat the criminal case while preserving your right to work and earn a living.
Musca Law Protects Employee’s Rights
Call Musca Law today at (888) 484-5057 to learn how our lawyers vigorously and aggressively protect your rights in court and during professional licensing hearings.