It’s rare, but some companies have policies stating that they will terminate employees who are arrested for drunk driving. Other companies may not have a set policy in place, but they may make the same decision if the arrest casts the company in a bad light. For instance, if a worker is arrested on the job or if an executive is involved in a drunk driving crash that takes a life and makes it into the local news.
However, even if you work for a company that doesn’t plan to fire you for getting arrested, that drunk driving arrest could still cost you your job in the long run. Here’s how.
You could lose your license
A first OWI could mean you lose your license for up to 180 days in Michigan. If you have a daily commute to get to work, this could bar you from attending at all. How long is your company willing to wait? You may be able to find ways around it, such as getting a ride with someone else or taking the bus, but not everyone can — and even those who can may not have a solution that lasts for 180 days.
You could go to jail
People often assume they’ll lose their license and pay a fine, but they overlook the fact that a first OWI can also lead to as many as 93 days in jail. A second conviction could increase that to an entire year. In a case like this, you will almost certainly lose your job if you’re a wage and hour worker. The company needs someone who can actually work. They’re not terminating you for moral reasons — disagreeing with your decisions — but for logistical ones.
Can you get that job back when you get out? Possibly, but only if the company has an opening. If they hired someone to replace you, they’re likely not going to fire that person a year later to hand your job back.
Considering your options
As you consider all of your legal options, make sure you keep this big picture in mind and really think about the long-term ramifications.