Employees make the foundation of a business. Efficient and productive employees drive the growth and success of a company. Their honesty enhances the reputation and credibility of the organization as customers see them as the representatives of the business. As an employer, you must go the extra mile to pick the best resources for your company. Moreover, workforce wellness should be a priority for all business owners. You must ensure that the employees are safe and happy as it boosts loyalty and retention.
But every organization has some bad elements in its workforce. There is always a chance of encountering a situation where your employee faces a criminal case. Whether the accused is guilty or innocent, the situation gets challenging for the employer. After all, your business may have to bear the implications of charges against its employees. Here are some tips to safeguard it in such a situation.
Contact the authorities
If an employee faces criminal allegations, your first step should be to contact the law enforcement authorities. Seek information and get details so that you can discuss the concern with the employee. It enables you to get a clear picture of the situation and be in a better place to deal with the truth. Moreover, you can identify the lies or lack of disclosure if the employee tries to conceal facts from you. Gather basic information such as the case timelines, the reason for the case, evidence and witnesses, and the potential charges your employee may face. More importantly, find whether your company is involved in the case and if it faces a threat to its name and reputation. You should be concerned if the act of the accused implicates your company in some way.
Get legal advice
A case against an employee is a serious matter for any employer, specifically if the company’s name is involved. For example, if the person acts as a brand representative while committing fraud, you may have to face criminal charges down the line. The best way to address the concern is by having a defense strategy in advance. Consult an expert criminal lawyer to seek advice on the legal side of the case. Provide them with all the information you get from the authorities. Also, share the past record of the employee. The lawyer will guide you on the right approach to creating a robust defense for your company.
Talk to the employee
The next feasible step is to have an unbiased conversation with the concerned employee. Ensure that you do not make any judgments beforehand and begin a discreet discussion for the sake of fairness. Listen to the employee’s side of the story without making assumptions about their guilt or innocence. Align the details and use your better judgment to make preliminary conclusions about the case.
Conduct an internal investigation
At this stage, conducting an internal investigation should be a part of the process. It may help you provide evidence against a guilty person or help an innocent one. You can interview co-workers, review relevant documents such as letters, emails, and financial records, and check CCTV footage, phone history, and logs to identify suspicious activities. At the same time, the absence of anomalies indicates that your employee may be clean. If you find them doing something malicious, you have the right to terminate them. You can go ahead with the decision even without waiting for the verdict of the criminal trial.
Determine a relevant disciplinary action
After gathering information and evaluating the evidence, you must decide on the disciplinary action in case of a guilty employee. You may give a sanction, pass a suspension order, or terminate the employee. The decision depends on the seriousness of the crime and the evidence you have. Take a conscious decision as disciplinary actions may bring your company’s name to the issue and affect its reputation. Besides taking an action against the employee, you may release a public statement to clarify your stance on the matter. Include the disciplinary actions you plan against the employee in the statement.
A criminal charge against an employee is a critical matter for any business. Your name and reputation may be at risk when a representative is on the wrong side of the law. The human resources department is at the center of the crisis because they have to decide the best course of action. The aim is to ensure that a wrongdoer is punished. At the same time, you must support an innocent employee dealing with false allegations due to a mistake or malicious intention.
HR Future Staff Writer