Can I Be Sacked for Something I Do Out of Work?

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We’ve all been living restricted lives over the last year, and our everyday behaviour has been curtailed. It’s perhaps no surprise that high-profile headlines followed when people’s out of work conduct seemed to break the law, whether that be a Sky news presenter being effectively suspended for 6 months over a party, or chef Gordon Ramsay allegedly ignoring self-isolation rules after flying in from the US. Although these breaches have nothing to do with work, situations involving celebrities can bring it home to everyone that conduct away from work can affect their employment both now, and in the future.

 

Conduct Outside Work

It’s very common for an employment contract to have some clause about bringing the employer into disrepute or conduct outside of work impacting on your ability to do your job. Depending on what you get up to in your spare time, and the working on your contract, something which happens outside of work could result in disciplinary procedures. If you are convicted of a crime, then this might affect any rile you apply for in the future which requires a DBS check.

 

Social Media

Most employers will have a clause about social medial use, and many will ask employees not to mention who they work for on their posts. Employees who take to social media to criticise their employers can also find themselves in hot water, and several employees have been sacked for improper social media use in the past. The disciplinary decision is often made based on the extent of the damage to the employer’s business, the number of social media posts, and the audience of those posts. Police are also cracking down on threatening or racist posts on social media, and if you end up with a criminal conviction this could show up on any future disclosure check.

 

Criminal Behaviour

According to ACAS, the body which has the job of mediating in issues between employers and employees, being charged or even being convicted of a crime isn’t in itself a reason for disciplinary action against a worker. However, employers do have the right to consider whether an employee’s actions mean they are no longer suitable for the job, and to consider the impact on relationships with customers and colleagues. With the most serious crimes which result in a prison sentence, dismissal is often automatic as there is no prospect of the employee returning to work, so the contract is “frustrated”.

 

DBS Checks in the Future

Disclosure checks are only interested in criminal matters which have resulted in either a caution or a conviction. They will not have access to your employee records and aren’t interested in any disciplinary action. However, previous employers may choose to disclose information about disciplinaries in references. Not all convictions and cautions will be automatically disclosed either, as the DBS goes through the filtering process in order to ensure that people are not hindered by very old offences. The key aspect of all of this? Things you do outside work can impact your future too.