To Tell or Not To Tell

Do I have to disclose my legal troubles to my employer?

When you’re arrested, many questions can leave you unsure of what to do next. Of the many questions that crop up, you may be asking yourself, “Do I have to tell my employer?” An attorney can help you determine what the correct response is for your situation, but generally speaking, the answer is complicated.

Georgia law gives employers the right to “employ at will,” which means they can hire or fire an employee for any reason, so long as it’s nondiscriminatory. In addition, many applications ask prospective employees to disclose their legal records. This can be a tricky thing to navigate as well because whether you have to disclose is a case-by-case basis.

For example, the arrest or conviction records for first-time offenders may be sealed, which means only law enforcement will have access to this data. In addition, first-time offenders are more likely to have their charges dismissed or reduced.

However, it’s always best to adhere to a policy of honesty. If it’s necessary, admit to your arrest or convictions on an application and explain what happened, what you learned from it, and how you have grown. Most employers will appreciate the honesty.

If you are currently employed, legally, the decision to disclose an arrest or conviction to your employer is completely up to you, but there is an exception: If you are licensed through Georgia as a doctor, teacher, nurse, or another profession, you must disclose your arrests and convictions.

As mentioned before, it’s always better to err on the side of complete transparency, but your personal life is yours to keep personal. Do keep in mind that employers, like all other citizens, have access to public records, which includes unsealed arrest and conviction records. Furthermore, some employers require their employees to disclose an arrest or conviction. Not doing so would be in violation of a company’s policy, which is grounds for termination.

Protecting your employment is dire for everyone. If you remain honest with your employer, you may find they are very understanding. But before you make any disclosures, you should consult with your attorney. Schedule a free consultation regarding your rights with Don Turner Legal Team by calling 770-594-1777, or visit DonTurnerLegalTeam.com to learn more

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