Introduction to this document


Criminal offences committed by staff policy

There can be serious implications for you if one of your employees is under investigation for or charged with a criminal offence or convicted of a crime. Depending on the nature, you may wish to take disciplinary action against the individual. Our policy explains how you will deal with this situation.  

In their own time

Generally, what an employee gets up to in their own time is a matter for them. There are only a few exceptions to this rule. One of these involves situations where they are under investigation for, charged with or convicted of a criminal offence. This has the potential to:

  • damage your reputation and/or
  • negatively impact on their job and make them unsuitable for the type of work they do for you.

So, at this point their out-of-work activities are your business. What you ultimately do in this type of situation will depend on the facts of the case. For example, an office worker who is convicted of a minor driving offence is unlikely to concern you. However, if it's your bookkeeper that's committed a serious dishonesty offence, you're probably going to need to act and invoke your disciplinary procedure. Also, serious crimes tend to attract local or national media coverage. This could result in you being named as an individual's employer. As this could harm your reputation, you'll want to disassociate yourself from this individual as quickly as possible.

You're free to introduce a Criminal Offences Committed by Staff Policy. It should direct all employees to immediately disclose to you any criminal investigation or proceedings they are facing. You can outline your reporting procedures and how you will deal with these situations, and you should reserve the right to take disciplinary action up to and including summary dismissal for gross misconduct. Your policy should also make it clear that criminal charges/prosecutions can be brought by authorities other than the police, e.g. HMRC, and that you will treat these ones just as seriously. In addition to criminal offences committed outside the workplace when the employee is off duty, our policy also covers work-related criminal offences, i.e. those that are committed at work, which you should address internally in the same way as any other form of work-related misconduct, i.e. by invoking your disciplinary procedure

Criminal allegations

You don’t usually need to wait for the conclusion of any related police investigation or criminal proceedings before either commencing or continuing internal disciplinary proceedings or dismissing an employee. The exception is where the employee can show that continuation of the disciplinary proceedings gives rise to a real danger of a miscarriage of justice in the criminal proceedings. So, do generally go ahead and progress your internal proceedings regardless of any pending criminal case.