A driving under the influence (DUI) conviction can affect one’s ability to get a job for years because
most job applications ask candidates if they’ve ever been convicted
of a crime. While some employers will overlook a DUI, others consider
it a deal breaker. That’s no surprise.
Whether you’ve been convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony DUI, any
DUI conviction can certainly make it more difficult to get a job in any
field. But what if you’re already employed? Can your employer fire
you if you’re convicted of DUI?
California is an At-Will Employment State
California’s Labor Code specifies that the employer-employee relationship
is “at-will.” Meaning, an employer or an employee may terminate
the employment relationship at any time, with or without cause. There
are exceptions: An employer cannot terminate an employee for discriminatory
reasons, or for refusing to be involved in an illegal activity.
So, unless the termination was discriminatory or retaliatory, you would
have no legal defense – your employer can terminate you for a DUI
if they please. For example, if you have to spend any time in jail, your
employer may not be sympathetic, and instead of having a job waiting for
you when you’re released, your employer may give your job to somebody
else. Your employer wouldn’t be breaking any laws in doing this.
How Employers View DUI Convictions
How do California employers view DUIs? It depends on who you work for and
what industry you’re in. Many employers believe that someone who
gets a DUI is irresponsible and exercising poor judgement. If an employee
is a teacher, a school counselor, a physician, a nurse, a police officer,
or someone in the public eye who is in a position of trust, the employer
may face criticism if they do not take action. If it’s a sensitive
matter, your employer might terminate you for an unrelated reason and
never tell you that he or she was influenced by your DUI.
What if I Drive for a Living?
If you drive a company vehicle, your chances of losing your job are greater.
If your license is suspended for a DUI, you will not be able to perform
your duties. When you get your license back, your employer may not be
able to insure you because your DUI makes you a “high-risk”
driver, or the company may have a strict policy against employing drivers
with DUI convictions.
If you do lose your job because of a DUI and you apply for another one,
you have to consider this: If an employer is choosing between you and
another applicant who is equally qualified, a DUI may tip the scale towards
hiring the other person.
If you have been arrested and are worried about how a DUI could affect
your job, contact an
Orange County DUI attorney from the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc.!