If an employee is charged with, or convicted of, a work-related criminal offence, should the employer conduct its own investigation before taking disciplinary action?

Yes, if an employee is charged with, or convicted of, a work-related criminal offence it is necessary for the employer to conduct its own investigation to establish the facts of the case.

The Acas code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures makes clear that the fact that an employee has been charged with, or convicted of, a criminal offence will not in itself be a reason for disciplinary action. The employer should consider what effect the criminal charge or conviction has on the employee's ability to do the job, as well as the employee's relationship with the employer, colleagues or customers. Disciplinary action is more likely to be appropriate if the offence is work related.

In Lovie Ltd v Anderson [1999] IRLR 164 EAT, the Employment Appeal Tribunal held that, where an employee is charged with an offence, this will not on its own give reasonable grounds for dismissal. The employer is under a duty to obtain sufficient information through its own investigations to form a genuine and reasonable belief that the employee is guilty of the offence before deciding to dismiss.