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Business Brief: Criminal Convictions

Nick Hine, partner at law firm Thomas Eggar, responds to your employment law questions:

I've recently had a criminal conviction, due to drinking and driving. I don't have to drive to do my job and otherwise I'm a high performance member of staff. Do I have to tell my employer? And if I do, do they have the right to fire me?
-- Name witheld

You really only have to tell your employer about criminal convictions if this could have an impact on your employer and your ability to do your job. So in this case, since you don't have to drive for your job your conviction for drinking and driving and probably disqualification which resulted has no effect whatsoever on your ability to do your job.

However, there may be circumstances where because of the nature of the organisation or work that you do, that a criminal conviction could be relevant. For example if you work for a Government body or were in finance and you were convicted of a criminal offence of say, dishonesty, then this could be relevant to your employer. However in your circumstances it doesn't sound as if this would be the case.

If you did tell your employer then in my view, they would not have the right to fire you. If they did decide to fire you then you could claim unfair dismissal and they would have to justify the reasons for the dismissal and that it was fair in all circumstances. If your conviction had nothing whatsoever to do with your particular role or the organisation, then it would appear difficult to justify this in the circumstances.

If you have any questions for Nick Hine, post a comment below, or email

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