At what point should employers penalized their employees for a criminal conviction? Is it ever appropriate? Should employers care if an employee has a criminal record? It seems that the Toronto police force cares, as it has recently decided to suspend without pay a police constable who was convicted of — but is appealing — a charge of assault with a weapon. The 33-year-old constable was accused of using excessive force on a G20 protester in 2010. Even though the officer is currently out on bail during the appeal process, his career is at risk.
Moreover, if the constable loses his appeal, he could be fired. Even though he would only serve 45 days in jail and could easily return to the police force following his punishment, it has been suggested that there is a very real risk of being fired. As it is, the officer will have to go through an internal police investigation and discipline process following the conclusion of his trial.
When individuals in certain professions are accused or convicted of criminal activity, they risk losing their jobs. Because the assumption that individuals in these professions cannot or should not have criminal records, even the tiniest mistake could cost an individual his or her job. Police officers, because they enforce the law, may be especially at risk.
The constable is one of two police officers to be criminally charged following the 2010 protests. The other officer, also a constable, was acquitted of all charges. It is unknown if he is still employed by the Toronto police force.
Source: The Canadian Press, “Toronto cop convicted of G20 assault sentenced to 45 days in jail,” Allison Jones, Dec. 9, 2013