The unwelcome news that one of your employees has been accused of a criminal offence often triggers an investigation and action by the employer, particularly if the allegations are connected to the employment environment itself. Additional concerns will arise if the offence was committed by an employee acting in the course of their duties, or in a specific capacity that could raise issues of corporate criminal liability.
Employers need to understand the context and nature of the allegations and consider the impact of any regulatory requirements, even for apparently minor offences. There may also be serious reputational risks that will need to be considered. Where the alleged victim is employed by the same employer, that individual will need support, but may also qualify as a whistleblower.
In addition to any internal investigation, employers may have to liaise with regulators, police or other external agencies, and procedures are further complicated by questions of timing and control of the investigation, while any dismissal may be career-limiting (or even career-ending), so employers must conduct a particularly careful investigation if they wish to avoid a finding of unfair dismissal.
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