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Will I automatically lose my
job if I get arrested?

Whether you have an active warrant or were recently arrested, it’s natural to be concerned about the fate of your job.

In Florida, the answer to this question isn’t necessarily clear-cut. Due to the state’s “at will” employment laws, most employers are free to make their own hiring and firing decisions. As a result, your employer may or may not decide to terminate you depending on various circumstances. 

Continue reading for more information, then contact the Orlando criminal defense lawyers at Katz & Phillips, P.A. for personalized guidance.

will I lose my job if I get arrested

Certain careers make job loss more likely

If your job requires special state licensing, a criminal record — including an arrest — could have serious implications for your employment.

For example, if you’re a licensed healthcare professional in Florida, a criminal charge could lead to an investigation by the Department of Health. Florida law doesn’t mandate the loss of medical licenses for criminal charges, but the licensing board has the authority to revoke your license if they feel it’s warranted.

Some employees are entitled to due process

On the other hand, certain types of careers may protect you from immediate job loss. For instance, individuals employed by federal, state, and county agencies are entitled to “due process” before they can be terminated from their jobs. Tenured teachers who are employed by the public school system are one example of workers who fall under this category.

“Due process” means that the employer must notify the employee in advance of their impending termination and allow them to defend themselves at a hearing.

During the hearing, the employer must demonstrate that they have a compelling reason for the termination. While your employer may still choose to fire you, this added layer of protection gives you the opportunity to explain your circumstances in a formal setting and potentially avoid job loss.

The nature of the crime often matters

The nature of your criminal charge will also play a role in whether you lose your job, either in the immediate aftermath of the arrest or during a court hearing.

For instance, if you’re arrested for an offense involving violence, theft, or drugs or alcohol, your employer may be more likely to decide to sever ties with you. Alternatively, if you’re arrested for something “minor” like contempt of court, loitering, disorderly conduct, or trespass, your employer may be more willing to overlook the incident — but there’s no guarantee.

Consider your employer's policies

Some employers have policies in place that may affect the outcome of your job. If you have an employment contract, for example, it may contain provisions about criminal charges and their consequences. Some employers have “zero tolerance” policies that might require them to terminate your employment if you’re arrested, regardless of the nature of the crime.

Other policies may protect you from termination. If you’re in a union, for instance, your union’s collective bargaining agreement may require the employer to issue a warning before taking disciplinary action for minor criminal charges.

Additionally, if you’re a contracted employee with a specified term, the employer may not have grounds to terminate you before that term expires unless your contract specifically mentions criminal charges.

Orlando criminal defense lawyers help you understand your rights

Ultimately, the best way to protect your job is to avoid a conviction. While an arrest may or may not have an immediate impact on your employment depending on the circumstances, a conviction almost certainly will.

If you’ve been charged with a crime in Florida, it’s in your best interests to consult a qualified attorney. At Katz & Phillips, P.A., we understand that your job and reputation are on the line and will do everything we can to help you secure a favorable outcome.

Our experienced criminal defense lawyers in Orlando can review your case and guide you through your legal options. Contact us at (321) 332-6864 to learn more and schedule a consultation.

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