For many people in the United States, and in Illinois, what you do outside of work does not affect your career or job. This isn't true in all aspects, however. Certain crimes, such as drug or alcohol-related traffic incidents, theft, embezzlement, fraud, etc, can affect your current and future employment opportunities. A driver being booked for drunk driving is normally worrying about how to pay bail and missing work, and not thinking about the fact that they may job end up getting fired because they have been arrested.
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol in Illinois and your employment is at stake, it's time to call a criminal defense attorney for legal advice. The team at our DUI law firm in Naperville is passionate about and experienced in all aspects of DUI and traffic law in Illinois.
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Can You Be Fired For a DUI?
There are many jobs that will fire an employee for a DUI. The U.S Military chapters out service members that receive DUI charges while in service, except under extreme circumstances. Most jobs that involve background checks, sensitive information, or driving will also let go of employees over DUI or drug charges. The same goes for most professions in which you work with or around minors. Politicians and government employees, such as postal workers, are normally asked to resign after DUI convictions, as are teachers and coaches.
The reason so many people's jobs are at risk if they are convicted of DUIs is that driving under the influence is often seen as a signifier for deeper issues such as active alcohol addiction. The reality of the fact is that many humans are judgmental and jump to conclusions, and people with drug or alcohol-related DUIs are often seen as untrustworthy when it comes to professional settings.
Illinois is an At-Will Employment State
Many people mistake At-Will Employment laws to mean that employees can be fired at any time, for any reason. This is not completely true. You cannot be fired for any type of discrimination, from race to gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, disability, etc. Your employment rights protect you from being fired for discriminatory reasons.
You can, however, be fired from a position if you stop being eligible for that position. For example, if you become disabled and are still able to do your job with reasonable accommodations, you cannot be fired. However, if you are a forklift driver and you become disabled and are unable to use your legs, then it is not discrimination for you to be let go from your position, because there are no reasonable accommodations that can be made. In situations like this, however, employers usually will offer employees who no longer qualify for their prior jobs new jobs within the company.
If you are fired in an at-will state due to anything other than your own fault, you will most likely be eligible for some kind of severance pay or unemployment pay until you are unable to find new employment. However, if you are fired for something that is your fault, you normally become ineligible for any kind of government helping hand.
Do You Have to Tell Your Employer About a DUI?
There is no law that states that you are required to inform your employer about a DUI conviction, but there are some circumstances in which you should. If you are a contracted employee, any criminal convictions normally must be reported to your employer per your employment contracts. For persons with security clearances, anything appearing on their criminal record will normally have their clearance immediately revoked, and it is normally better for you to inform them before they find out on their own.
Another reason to inform your managers or higher-ups about a DUI is pretty simple: between court dates, mandated meetings, treatment, community service, and potential jail time, it is likely that you are going to miss a large period of time at work during your DUI court process. Missing that amount of work normally needs to be approved prior, which means needing to speak to your managers or higher-ups to get the time off.
If you have to drive for any part of your job and are dealing with license suspension because of a DUI, you do have to inform your employer that you are unable to drive due to license suspension. Driving with a restricted license or a revoked professional license can get you into even more trouble, and is never recommended.
As you might guess, almost any job that requires you to drive will no longer hire you after you receive a DUI. This includes commercial truck drivers, any kind of delivery services from federal or private mail delivery, and food delivery. Any state or federal government jobs, jobs requiring security clearance or background checks will also pass on those with DUI convictions.
It is imperative that you are honest with any potential employer when it comes to a DUI arrest, as they will see it on a background check. Companies may also have company policies about hiring persons with drug or alcohol-related criminal charges or incidents on their records.
Beyond the employers that will no longer hire you, if you are unable to get to a job because of your inability to drive, this can also lower your chances of regaining employment after a DUI. Many new jobs will also not hire those still doing their community service or any other court-ordered events because this cuts into an employee's ability to be at work.
If you are ordered an excess amount of educational courses, therapy appointments, rehabilitation appointments or meetings, and community service this can be a full-time job on its own, and you may not have the time to work at an actual job.
If you're ready to take the first steps towards getting your life back on track, we're ready to help. Call Naperville DUI Lawyer today for a free consultation, and let us build you the perfect legal defense to help you get back behind the wheel, and back into a good job.