I was hired by a company in Florida in June of this year. I had no criminal history at all, besides a couple of speeding tickets. In the middle of August I was arrested and charged with Grand Theft and Criminal Use of Personal ID. After all was said and done with the case, adjudication was withheld on both charges, and I was placed on probation for a year. I was told by my employer to let them know what the outcome of the case was. When I told them the disposition of the case they terminated me with no reason other than I was convicted of the crime. Is this allowed in Florida?
I don't know if it makes a difference, but the company that I was working for knows that I am a gay male, and I was always treated differently by the management because of this.
The employer is within their rights to terminate you based upon your criminal case, whether you were adjudicated guilty or not, as Florida is an at-will employment state whereby you can be terminated for any reason, just so long as it's not based upon your membership in a protected class. Sexual orientation is not recognized as a protected class, unlike gender, age, race, religion or disability, so even if that was their real motivation in terminating your employment there's nothing you can do.
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I agree with Attorney Brennan, Florida is an "at-will" employment state. As long as the dismissal is not based on a discriminatory reason that is covered under the law, you can be dismissed for any reason. However, the employer is wrong if they dismissed you because they think you were convicted. You indicated that the adjudication was withheld, that means you were not convicted. Good luck.
B. Elaine Jones, Esq.