The foundations of a good company are the ones working in it, which are essentially the employees. Employee wellness should be a priority in every company, and that is the reason why companies have human resources departments. That said, there may come a time when your employee might be charged with a criminal case. To be prepared for such a situation, here are some things you need to do:
1. Contact the Authorities
The first thing you must do if your employee is subject to a criminal case is to contact the concerned law enforcement agency. Get as much information as possible from the authorities. Make sure that you are equipped with all the details before you talk to your employee. Find out everything you can regarding the case to make sure that you are also informed. Here are some basic information that you should be gathering or questions you should be asking:
- When was the case filed?
- What was the reason for the case being filed?
- What are the potential charges that your employee might face?
- Were there witnesses in the event or crime done?
- Will the name and reputation of your company be in jeopardy? Is it included in the case?
- Is your company involved in the case?
- Is the concerned employee incarcerated? If so, find out how long and where.
- Ask for copies of documents (i.e. documents of arrest and charges, etc.)
2. Consult a Lawyer
Before you take any steps further, you must consult a lawyer on the legal side of this criminal case. If you are not a lawyer, don’t make your own conclusions about the law. To be sure, consult a lawyer on the criminal case and relate with them the information you’ve gathered from the authorities. The lawyers will be able to tell you more about the case, guide you on how you should approach it, and let you know the gravity of the criminal case. If you are still unsure where to get a good lawyer, you can check out Marsh Blom Lawyers.
3. Talk to the Concerned Employee
After getting information from the law enforcement agency and consulting a lawyer, it is now time to cross check the information you have obtained with the concerned employee. Start a discreet discussion with the concerned employee regarding the case to ensure fairness. You must also see the side of the employee and listen to their explanation. Using your better judgement, you can start aligning the details to make your preliminary conclusions.
4. Start an Internal Investigation
On your part as the employer, you must also consider starting an internal investigation on the subject matter. This can either help aid the case of the employee or provide even more evidence against the employee.
You may begin by interviewing co-workers who are relevant to the case or are closely working with the concerned employee. Internal investigations must also include the review of all relevant documents such as letters, CCTV, phone history and logs, emails, financial records, and such. This could also help the authorities in their investigation.
Criminal investigations and internal corporate investigations are to be treated as different cases. This means that if your employee is found doing something malicious inside the company, the company has the right to terminate the employee even without the final verdict of the criminal trial. The company won’t need the final decision of the courts to make their own decision for the future of the employee inside the company.
5. Decide on Disciplinary Actions
With the information you’ve gathered, you must evaluate the evidence and decide what your next steps should be. Your next steps should include a statement that you’ll be releasing to clarify the company’s stance on the matter and set the record straight. This statement should also include what you plan to do with the employee concerned. After you’ve done all the investigations, you can decide on the gravity of the crime.
You can either give a sanction, suspend the employee, or terminate the employee altogether. Again, your decision will depend on the gravity of the crime and information you’ve gathered. However, you must also be careful on the disciplinary actions you’ll take since it can also tarnish the reputation of your company as well. Be sure to carefully and fairly evaluate the information you have on hand.
The role of the human resources department is very crucial when an employee is faced with a criminal case. This can impact the employee’s work and the company’s reputation as well, which is why the human resources department and your company must take calculated steps when faced with this kind of situation.