If you have been arrested in the State of Texas, you face many challenges and concerns ahead, and one of them that may pop immediately to mind is your job. Are you required to let your employer know about the arrest, and if so, what will that mean for you? It is a serious concern that requires serious legal attention, and an experienced Lampasas criminal defense attorney can help.
Texas Is an At-Will Employment State
Texas is what is known as an at-will employment state, which means that an employee can be fired for nearly any reason at nearly any time. This is not exactly happy news when it comes to the matter of your arrest and how it might affect your job. There are, however, additional facts to consider.
When Arrest Reporting Is Absolutely Required
There are certain situations in which arrest reporting is absolutely necessary. For example, if you were arrested for DWI and you are a commercial truck driver by trade, your employer almost certainly has a policy in place that requires you to come clean. This is based on the fact that those who employ commercial drivers tend to bear considerable liability related to those drivers, and a DWI can significantly increase that liability.
Any employer can include such terms in the company’s employee-related policies, and the places that such rules are likely to be found include:
The employee handbook
The company’s website
The company’s code of conduct
The company’s HR department
If your employer requires that employees report any arrests, then doing so is in your best interest. It is important to note, however, that not all employers do have this requirement, and this is where things can become even more complicated.
If Your Employer Has No Requirement
If your employer has no requirements regarding reporting an arrest, you may feel like you are off the hook on the matter, but it is not quite that easy. Consider the following:
If You Do Not Report the Arrest
If you do not report your arrest and your employer finds out (which is a real possibility), your employer’s belief that you are not trustworthy (or are a liar) is more than enough reason to fire you. Remember, in Texas, your employer does not need a reason.
If You Do Report the Arrest
If you do report the arrest, it can have just as disastrous results as not reporting, but you will retain the benefit of having been open and honest from the outset, which may work in your favor. Ultimately, your employer’s response is a matter of his or her discretion, and reporting your arrest is likely less overtly harmful than being caught in what would almost certainly be considered a direct lie (failure to report your arrest).