Can an employer fire you for a DUI arrest?
Many people assume that if you work for an employer, and are arrested, that you can be terminated for being arrested. So can an employer fire you for a DUI arrest?
You probably already know that under the Constitution, you are innocent until proven guilty. A separate law, California Labor Code section 432.7 says the following: An employer cannot ask someone applying for a job for information about an arrest or detention that did not end in a conviction.
An employer cannot ask about a referral to or participation in any diversion program. An employer is also not even supposed to look for any record of arrest (from any source) that did not end in a conviction. If this information comes to the employer’s attention anyway, the employer cannot use that record as a factor in hiring, promoting, or terminating that person.
This same code section says that the employer may ask an employee or someone applying for a job about an arrest. That applies when he or she is out on bail or released on his or her own recognizance pending trial. A conviction, for purposes of this code section, includes pleas, verdicts, or findings of guilt.
In general people are protected from having to disclose to an employer an arrest if it did not result in a conviction under this Labor Code section.
Can an employer fire you for a DUI arrest if you need to drive for work?
For employers that require driving, like commercial drivers, there may be a duty to disclose any action against your license. If you need to drive for a job and a valid license is required. That may be a valid reason for termination of employment.
Can an employer fire you for a DUI arrest if you have a professional license and are arrested?
No, subject to the code section above. However, note that many professional State and Federal licenses have a duty to disclose any arrests. Many people are suspended based upon the failure to disclose voluntarily, not the arrest. Nurses in particular are required to disclose arrests. Licensing boards typically want to see the police reports to see if there are any issues.
If you have questions for our DUI attorneys about arrests, or convictions and employment issues, contact our firm for a free consultation. We are here to help you.