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I was fired from my place of employment because of a crime and charges were finally dropped. Was I wrongfully terminated?

Dryden, NY |

In August I was charged with 2 counts of reckless endangerment and 1 count of criminal mischief. My employer, an agency that works with at risk youth, suspended me without pay "investigate the situation." Right before the 3 month mark of being suspended they asked me to come in for a meeting. They asked me if I ever lied to the police and where abouts is the case. I told them no I never lied to the police and that I don't know about the case because I have not been indicted. The next day they told me it is in the agencies best interest to part ways. Well after a few months had gone by the 6 month mark to be indicted for a felony charge had passed and all charges were dropped. Did my employer have legal right to terminate my employment without ever being indicted or convicted of any charge?

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Attorney answers 3


Unless you had a contract you were at at-will employee and could be fired for no reason or any reason except an unlawful reason such as based on race, religion, etc. I do not see an improper conduct by the employer.

The above answer, and any follow up comments or emails is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.


No. In general, a company can terminate an employee who is arrested, unless the company uses the arrest as an excuse to discriminate against certain employees and not others who have also been arrested. If you think there is discrimination involved, consult an employment lawyer, the NYS Division of Human Rights, of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).


You should seriously consider having a consultation with a labor & employment law attorney and bring all the relevant paperwork with you to discuss whether you have a claim against your employer. In the least, you may be able to negotiate reinstatement of your position because of the fact all charges were dropped (if you wish to work there again), not necessarily because you are entitled to under the law, but because employers and employees may make agreements regarding employment. It never hurts to be informed of your rights by counsel or to have an attorney speak on your behalf with these issues to see whether you may work out some resolution regardless of whether you have a claim.

Any answer provided by me does not create an attorney client relationship with the author of the question. An attorney client relationship can be formed with me only after a consultation and subsequent execution of a retainer agreement or letter of engagement. Notwithstanding that, the prospective client is afforded the protections of the attorney-client privilege before and during the consultation regardless of whether the retainer agreement or letter of engagement is subsequently signed.