It happens more often than you think. An employee in good standing is “outed” as being listed on a sex offender registry. His/her coworkers are up in arms. Now what? Can he/she be fired?
Given California’s relatively new “ban the box” law, employers are limited in how they can use criminal history in employment decisions. For current employees, once a conviction is uncovered, you can’t automatically fire someone for it. Rather, employers must make an individualized assessment to determine if the conviction has a direct and adverse relationship with the actual job. To do so, employers must consider:
- The nature and gravity of the offense or conduct;
- The time that has passed since the offense or conduct and the completion of the sentence; and
- The nature of the job held or sought.
This also means the employer must talk to the employee and get his/her side of the story.